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  1. Pineda Vargas, Solange S. MS, MD
  2. O'Neil, Carol E. PhD, MPH, LDN, RD
  3. Keast, Debra R. PhD
  4. Cho, Susan S. PhD, MS
  5. Nicklas, Theresa A. DrPH


Ready-to-eat cereal (RTEC) has been associated with improved nutrient intake and weight status, but intake has not been studied in Mexican-American (MA) children. The objective of this study was to assess whether nutrient intake, mean adequacy ratio (MAR), and weight were associated with classification of 3 breakfast consumption groups: breakfast skippers, RTEC breakfast consumers, and other breakfast (OB) consumers. Data on MA children (6-12 years; n = 1060) and adolescents (13-18 years; n = 1395) who participated in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. One 24-hour diet recall was used to calculate nutrient intakes and MAR for micronutrients. Weight, body mass index, and waist circumference were evaluated. For statistical analyses, between-group differences in mean covariate-adjusted nutrient intake, unadjusted MAR, and unadjusted weights were examined. Nine percent of children and 28% of adolescents skipped breakfast; 34% and 22% of those age groups consumed RTEC breakfasts, respectively. Children who consumed an RTEC breakfast had higher intakes of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, and zinc than did children in the OB consumption group and breakfast skippers. Ready-to-eat cereal breakfast consumers also had a higher MAR and higher intakes of phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium than did breakfast skippers but not than OB consumers. Ready-to-eat cereal breakfast consumers had lower intakes of total fat, polyunsaturated fatty acid, and cholesterol than did OB consumers. In adolescents, compared with breakfast skippers or OB consumers, RTEC breakfast consumers had a higher MAR and higher intakes of vitamins A, B6, and B12; thiamin; riboflavin; niacin; folate; phosphorus; iron; and zinc. Carbohydrate intake was higher in RTEC breakfast consumers than in skippers or OB consumers. Children who consumed OB had lower mean body mass index and waist circumference than did those children who skipped breakfast. In MA children and adolescents, RTEC breakfast consumers had improved nutrient intake compared with breakfast skippers and OB consumers, and RTEC should be encouraged as a convenient, low-fat, nutrient-dense breakfast option.