There is limited evidence in Australia that compares the nutritional impact of a breakfast cereal breakfast to a non-cereal breakfast, and includes the type of cereal. This study investigated the impact of breakfast choice and the total sugar content of breakfast cereal on nutrient intakes and anthropometric measures among Australian children and adolescents. Data from 2 to 18-year-old in the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey were used (n = 2821). Participants were classified as breakfast cereal consumers (minimally pre-sweetened (MPS) or pre-sweetened (PS)), non-cereal breakfast consumers, or breakfast skippers. Foods consumed for breakfast, foods added to the cereal bowl, and the impact of breakfast choice on daily nutrient intakes and anthropometric measures were determined. Although only 9% of children skipped breakfast, 61% of skippers were aged 14–18 years. Among breakfast consumers, 49% had breakfast cereal, and 62% of these exclusively consumed MPS cereal. Breakfast skippers had a higher saturated fat intake than breakfast cereal consumers, and lower intakes of dietary fibre and most micronutrients (p < 0.001). Compared with non-cereal breakfast consumers, breakfast cereal consumers had similar added and free sugars intake, lower sodium, and higher total sugars, carbohydrate, dietary fibre, and almost all other micronutrients (p < 0.001). The only difference in nutrient intakes between MPS and PS cereal consumers was higher folate among PS consumers. No associations between anthropometric measures and breakfast or breakfast cereal choice were found. The highest prevalence of breakfast skipping was among 14–18-year old. Breakfast cereal consumers had higher intakes of dietary fibre and most micronutrients compared with non-cereal breakfast consumers and skippers, and almost no differences were found between MPS and PS cereal consumers.
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- National Nutrition Survey