Young people * Healthy living * Weight loss

UK kids spend millions on junk food breakfasts

UK kids junk food breakfast diets Biscuits, cakes and even cigarettes are popular choices

In the good old days we were urged to "go to work on an egg", but a new survey reveals that our children spend over £400m a year on junk food and cigarettes on the way to school, with parents powerless to do anything about it.

Almost one quarter of all 7 to 14 year olds regularly have junk food for breakfast, with 14% going into an off-licence to make their morning purchases.

The survey also reveals that:

  • Half a million kids eat biscuits for their morning meal
  • 160,000 have a bag of crisps
  • More than 100,000 just have a fizzy drink
  • 69% of kids buy their morning meal from a corner shop
  • 38% from a supermarket and 8% from a garage

The cost of junk breakfasts

Busy parents are finding it hard to fit a morning meal into their daily routine, so they are resorting to giving their children money to buy breakfast on their morning journey.

The survey, by breakfast cereal maker Kellog's, found that 16% of children are given an average of £2.22 to spend on breakfast each day on their way to school.

This is despite the fact that many parents are aware that their children will make unhealthy choices, and that parents are concerned about their children's diets.

There is hope

Despite the bad news, 85% of kids say they’d kick the morning junk food habit if mums and dads turned off the money tap and gave them something to eat before they left home.

Rachel Fellows from Kellogg’s said, "Ask any parent and I think they’d agree, a biscuit or packet of crisps are okay snacks when part of a balanced diet but they’re not breakfast."

Jeremy Todd, chief executive of parent’s charity Parentline Plus, said: "Parentline Plus advises parents, where possible, to sit down with your children and ensure that your family eats a healthy breakfast. The time before school can be stressful for parents as they struggle to get themselves ready for work and their children ready for school."

This article was published on Wed 2 September 2009

Image © Jaimie Duplass -

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