October 5/Philadelphia/USA Today -- Some school kids eat two or more breakfasts a day, while others eat nothing, and those who do eat breakfast are often starting the day with cereal and milk, a new survey shows.

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia surveyed 369 fourth- through eighth- graders in the city about whether they ate breakfast that day and what they consumed.

About half of the kids were at a healthy weight; the rest were overweight or obese. Half were African-American. 

Among the findings presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in Orlando:
•20% skipped breakfast; 55% ate one breakfast, and about 25% had two or more breakfasts.
•59% of breakfast-eaters consumed the first meal of the day at home, with 45% of those eating cold or hot cereal; 39% drank milk or ate yogurt or cheese; 32.5% drank water.
•31% ate breakfast at school in the cafeteria or their classroom. About 38% of those kids drank milk; 48% drank 100% juice; 24% ate waffles, french toast or pancakes.
•18% of kids grabbed breakfast at a corner store on their way to school, with 34% eating chips such as potato chips, Doritos or Cheetos; 24% ate candy; 34% drank sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, juice, lemonade and fruit drinks.

"There is no doubt that breakfast makes a big difference for children, and that access to school breakfast is a good thing," says Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University .

However, if kids are going to have breakfast at school, they do not need to eat one at home or pick up food at the corner store, he says.

Stephanie Vander Veur, one of the Temple researchers who worked on the project, says kids buy the same things at corner stores before and after school: chips, candy and soda.

Her advice to parents: "Encourage children to eat breakfast at home or school and not stop at a corner store."

 From the October 5, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.