The Effects of Breakfast Consumption on GPA, BMI, and Total Daily Caloric Intake
The relationship between eating breakfast, grades, and Body Mass Index (BMI) has not been extensively studied among college students; however, weight gain during college years is common.
Purpose: To determine if college students who eat breakfast have lower body weights and higher Grade Point Averages (GPAs).
Methods: The Institutional Review Board approved this study. All juniors and seniors were invited to participate. Information Technology sent out emails to all potential participants with the informed-consent document and links to a Forms Manager survey and the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour (ASA24) dietary recall survey. The Forms Manager survey collected data regarding breakfast intake, GPA, BMI, and physical activity. The ASA24 survey collected data regarding participants' 24-hour total dietary intake. SPSS was used to analyze data, using the t-test, oneway ANOVA, and chi-squared test.
Results: 80.2% (n=158) of subjects were regular (4+ times per week) breakfast consumers. Only 35% of the 197 initial participants completed the ASA24 dietary recall. The final population consisted of 69 subjects, of whom 78.3% (n=54) regularly ate breakfast. Most breakfast eaters, 72.9% (n=43), consumed breakfast in their apartment, and 27.1% (n=16) consumed breakfast in the school cafeteria. Subjects who ate breakfast in the cafeteria tended to consume more total calories (2088±1235) than subjects who ate breakfast in their apartment (1821±799), and more cholesterol was consumed in the cafeteria (352±253 mg) than in the apartments (228±179 mg) (p = 0.051). Participants who consumed breakfast in apartment consumed more whole fruit (1.29±1.42 servings) compared to participants who ate breakfast in school cafeteria (0.73±0.84 serving). Over half of the participants, 63%, gained weight while at college, with the majority (45.6%, n=57) gaining 6-10 lbs. Individuals who consumed breakfast had slightly lower BMIs (23.3±2.9) in comparison to breakfast skippers' BMI (24.3±4) (P = 0.012). Subjects who engage in physical activity more often (5±0.97 days/wk) tended to consume more total calories (1924±857) than subjects (1858±928 calories) who are less active (2.33±0.29 days/wk) (p = 0.822), although both groups consumed a similar range of breakfast calories. Subjects who consumed a lower protein (10.9±5.6 g) breakfast tended to have lower GPAs (3.47±0.31) than subjects who ate a higher protein (28.33±9.06 g) breakfast (GPA 3.56±0.32) (p =0.630). Breakfast meals with lower protein (10.9±5.6 g) also correlated with higher BMIs (23.9±3.6) while individuals consuming breakfasts with higher protein (28.3±7.6 g) had lower BMIs (22.5±1.2) (p = 0.002).
Conclusions: Surprisingly most students, 80%, reported eating breakfast regularly and people who eat breakfast have slightly lower BMIs. Individuals who ate more than 19 g of protein in their breakfast meal had slightly lower BMIs and higher GPAs. Individuals who ate in their apartment tended to consume fewer total calories and less cholesterol, and more fruit intake compared to their peers who ate in the school cafeteria.
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