Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 181

P18-013 - Breakfast Cognitions and Practices of Parents of Elementary-School Aged Children

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


To determine parents' perceptions and behavioral practices related to their children's breakfast consumption.


Focus groups were completed by 37 English- and Spanish-speaking parents of 6 to 11-year-old children from 3 states (NJ, WV, FL) and a larger sample competed a brief survey (n=185).


Parents completing the survey ate breakfast 5.82±1.56SD days/week. Focus group participants felt breakfast was important because it ensured that kids were not going to feel hungry, helped kids have adequate energy, and supported better behavior and focus at school. Parents realized kids noticed what they ate for breakfast and wanted to mimic these behaviors, so parents felt it was important for them to eat foods they wanted kids to eat. The biggest barrier to eating breakfast was busy schedules resulting in inadequate time. To overcome time barriers, some parents used grab-and-go foods (bagel, cereal bars), planned breakfast options ahead, let kids choose from options, and woke up earlier. Eating breakfast at school was another way parents coped with time barriers. Although many of their children ate breakfast at school, Spanish-speaking parents felt it was better for kids to eat at home because they could monitor and control what children ate. Other breakfast barriers were kids not feeling hungry in the morning or not liking traditional breakfast foods. To cope, parents served snack foods instead of breakfast foods because they felt that eating something was better than nothing, let kids choose their food, and served non-traditional options (quesadillas, pizza). Busy schedules got in the way of family breakfast on weekdays, so parents focused on eating family breakfasts on weekends and tended to serve foods requiring more preparation time (e.g., pancakes). Since entering elementary school, parents felt they had to cater to children's requests more to avoid conflict and ensure kids ate, which made having varied breakfast options and involving children in selecting foods increasingly important.


Understanding parents' breakfast cognitions and behaviors can help nutrition educators develop interventions tailored to their needs, such as including strategies for improving the frequency and healthfulness of breakfast.

Funding Source:

United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Grant Number 2017-680001-26351

CoAuthors: Rashel Clark – West Virginia University; Kaitlyn Eck – Rutgers University; Colleen Delaney – Rutgers University; Karla Shelnutt – University of Florida; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner – Rutgers University; Melissa Olfert – West Virginia University

Rashel L. Clark

West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia