ABSTRACT: Aim of this study was to investigate the breakfast habits in a cohort of school ethnic minority (EM) children admitted to a summer sport school (SSS) in order to evaluate the possible differences with their Italian peers (IP). One hundred-seventy-nine children aged 6-14 years were interviewed through a questionnaire about breakfast behaviors and nutrition habits. The results were compared with those obtained in a randomized sample of 179 Italian peers (IP) attending the same SSS. EM children skip breakfast more frequently than IP (15% vs 7%; p = 0.029). The omissions are attributed to the lack of time (45% vs 54%) and not being hungry upon waking (44% vs 38%). During weekends the percentage of breakfast skippers decreased of about 3 percentage points but persisted a significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.024). EM children who did not have breakfast show a mean BMI higher than breakfast consumers (p = 0.05). Bakery products and milk were the most frequently consumed food and drink in EM and IP children (68% vs 70% and 71% vs 76% respectively). EM children chose and prepared personally breakfast at home more frequently than IP (54% vs 22%). These EM children were more inclined to skip breakfast (p = 0.025) and to have an elevated BMI (p = 0.006) than IP. An educational program, for ethnic minority families, in different languages and according to their cultural, religious and socio-economic influences could be a possible means for changing their lifestyle and reducing their risk to become overweight.
Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis 08/2011; 82(2):132-6.