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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Breakfast consumption is labelled as the most important meal of the day. It might be of significant importance for adolescent students as it might influence their short-term memory, performance, and mood. However, the prevalence of skipping breakfast, among adolescents, in Saudi Arabia is high. AIMS: To investigate the association between breakfast intake and short-term memory, performance, and mood, among Saudi female adolescents. METHODS and MATERIAL: A Cross-sectional study was conducted in a secondary female School (Riyadh) involving 170 students (15-19 years). Structured questionnaires on breakfast eating habits, student performance at school, a standardized questionnaire mood and feeling, and a standardized short-term memory test were used for data collection. Statistical analysis used Chi2 test and ANOVA test to assess the association between breakfast intake and the studied parameters. RESULTS: Only 39% of participants keep their daily breakfast. Frequency of breakfast intake was strongly and positively associated with improved performance (R2=0.87, p<0.001), and to short-term memory score (R2=0.5, p<0.05).  However, no correlation between daily breakfast intake and mood was obtained. CONSLUSIONS: This study confirmed the high rate of skipping breakfast among Saudi female adolescents, and provides further evidence on the beneficial effect of breakfast intake on student’s short-term memory as well as the school performance. Nutrition education program targeting this population should be implemented to enhance its awareness on the importance of breakfast intake.

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