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% vs5 4%) 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. (www.actabiomedica.it). © Mattioli 1885.
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