French breakfast for children

Quantitative and qualitative analysis of breakfast nutritional composition in French schoolchildren aged 9–11 years

Lepicard et al., JHND Early View


The present study aimed to analyse the nutritional quality of childrens’ breakfasts using data collected during a cross-sectional observational study on the prevalence of urinary osmolality in 529 French children aged 9–11 years.


Total nutrient intake, mean adequacy ratio (MAR), energy density and solid energy density were calculated from breakfast food and fluid nutritional composition. To identify the main qualitative breakfast patterns, each breakfast item was categorised into 15 solid and liquid food categories and a principal component analysis followed by a cluster analysis was performed.


Only 9.8% included skipped breakfast. Breakfast provided, on average, 22.9% of the recommended daily energy intake and 24.7% of the mean adequacy ratio of 23 key nutrients. Four breakfast patterns were identified: ‘Sweets breakfast’ (40.0% of children), ‘Traditional French breakfast’ (27.2%), ‘Ready-to-eat cereal (RTEC) + milk’ (18.1%) and ‘Dairy and juice breakfast’ (9.5%). Nutritionally, the ‘RTEC + milk’ pattern was the most advantageous. Flavoured milk was the most frequently consumed food (50.5%) and the major component of the ‘Traditional French breakfast’.


Although breakfast provided a substantial contribution to a range of nutrients, opportunity for improvement, particularly to less nutrient breakfast patterns, should not be overlooked.

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