Eat breakfast like a king’, part of a popular saying, has a lot of truth and science behind it, particularly for growing children. Although physical activity is much less during sleep, there is nevertheless physiological activity going on and this uses up the energy from the food we eat throughout the day. Hence ‘breaking the overnight fast’ by consuming an adequate and balanced breakfast gives a boost to starting the new day energetically, by providing the body with the required energy for physical activity and the much needed glucose for the brain to tackle mental activity.
The national policy for children states very rightly that “our children should grow up to become robust citizens, physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy, endowed with skills and motivation needed by the society.” It is in this realization that we have constitutional provisions such as Article 45 and government policies like the National Policy for Children (1974). The ‘Nutrition supplementary programme’ as part of the Integrated Child Development Services and the School Mid-day Meal programme have been initiated in our country to meet the nutritional as well as the cognitive needs of our children.
The author is a child psychologist involved in research on infant and young child feeding, care for development for improved growth and cognitive development of young children. She is a former Deputy Director (Scientist ‘E’) and ICMR Emeritus Scientist. She can be reached at [email protected].