The Relation Between Breakfast Skipping and School Performance in Adolescents


Annemarie Boschloo, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; e-mail:


Breakfast skipping is common in adolescents, but research on the effects of breakfast skipping on school performance is scarce. This current cross-sectional survey study of 605 adolescents aged 11–18 years investigated whether adolescents who habitually skip breakfast have lower end-of-term grades than adolescents who eat breakfast daily. Additionally, the roles of sleep behavior, namely chronotype, and attention were explored. Results showed that breakfast skippers performed lower at school than breakfast eaters. The findings were similar for younger and older adolescents and for boys and girls. Adolescents with an evening chronotype were more likely to skip breakfast, but chronotype was unrelated to school performance. Furthermore, attention problems partially mediated the relation between breakfast skipping and school performance. This large-scale study emphasizes the importance of breakfast as a determinant for school performance. The results give reason to investigate the mechanisms underlying the relation between skipping breakfast, attention, and school performance in more detail.