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A survey of breakfast practices of 4-12 year old children


MP Senanayake ,

Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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HMLN Parakramadasa

Registered Medical Officer, Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Colombo, LK
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Objectives To assess time of intake of breakfast and choice of food consumed by school children, identify underlying reasons for prevailing breakfast practices and describe the knowledge and attitude of mothers about the nutritional needs of their children in relation to breakfast .
Study design A descriptive cross sectional study using an interviewer administered questionnaire.
Study setting A medical ward at Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Colombo
Study population Children aged 4-12 years, admitted to the professorial ward with an acute illness of less than three days duration between 1st December 2006 and 28th February 2007. Exclusion criteria were severe or chronic illness, food allergy, dietary restrictions, special diet schedules, growth abnormality/ties or developmental delay.
Method A modified food frequency questionnaire was used to gather data on demographic and dietary details. Consumption patterns of five commonly eaten food groups were investigated based on dietary recall. Portion sizes and nutritive values were not assessed.
Results Of a total of 220 children, 96% were school-going. Majority (81%) were resident in the Western province and were represented by Sinhalese (79.5%), Tamils (10.5%) and Muslims (10%). All mothers were literate and 60% had studied up to or above GCE (O Levels). In 80% monthly family income was above Rs. 8000. Population studied comprised mostly of primary school children. Male to female ratio was 1:1.08 and no significant differences in breakfast practices or nutritional status were found between sexes.


Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2008; 37: 112-117

How to Cite: Senanayake, M. and Parakramadasa, H., 2009. A survey of breakfast practices of 4-12 year old children. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 37(4), pp.112–117. DOI:
Published on 11 Feb 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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