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Skipping Breakfast A Major Brain Drain

Skipping Breakfast A Major Brain Drain, Says Dairy Advisory Bureau

Most New Zealanders who skip breakfast have no idea they are contributing to a major brain drain, says the Dairy Advisory Bureau's Manager Simone Dumergue.

"We read headlines about the loss to New Zealand when our educated and gifted leave for another country, but not many people know they also contribute to the brain drain on a daily basis by not eating a nourishing breakfast," Ms Dumergue says.

To help halt the brain drain the Dairy Advisory Bureau launches a grassroots campaign on Sunday (ed: August 1) to encourage parents and care-givers to ensure growing children establish the habit of eating a nutritious breakfast daily - preferably a breakfast of cereal and milk.

"A nutritious breakfast is important for everyone, especially growing children. The carbohydrate foods and the milk we traditionally consume at breakfast provide our brains with glucose, which is necessary for memory formation and storage."

Ms Dumergue, who is also a nutritionist, says apart from providing a vital source of carbohydrate after an overnight fast, cereal and milk is a very nutritious meal.

"Children who eat a breakfast of cereal, milk and a piece of fruit get more than 40% of their daily requirements of key essentials such as protein, calcium, vitamins A and C, certain B vitamins, plus minerals such as iron and magnesium."

She stresses the importance of establishing the breakfast habit in children; saying hunger is often a significant distraction from learning.

"Encouraging children to establish the habit of eating a nutritious breakfast - like cereal, milk and fruit - early in life establishes a life-long tradition that also has a positive effect on mental performance and therefore on behaviour and learning.

"Breakfast is also a time when milk is traditionally consumed and of course the calcium is essential for the growth of healthy bones."

Ms Dumergue says the Dairy Advisory Bureau, which is responsible for nutrition education and promotion, has partnered with Kellogg to promote breakfast eating.

"Kellogg has a fine reputation for providing responsible nutrition education and for producing wholesome grain-based cereals. Like us, Kellogg is concerned that all New Zealanders get a good start to the day.

"Breakfast eaters tend to have healthier, more balanced diets overall than people who skip breakfast."

She added that convenience, nutrition and taste are three of the most important factors guiding food choice today.

"A breakfast of cereal and milk has all these requirements." Central to the Dairy Advisory Bureau-Kellogg initiative is a television advertising campaign reminding parents and care-givers of the link between eating a nutritious breakfast and performing well in school. It screens for the first three weeks of August and again at the end of September into early October.

Primary school children will also have the opportunity to win free breakfasts for their schools in a nationwide colouring competition being promoted through Netball New Zealand.

ENDS ....

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