Wed, 06 Aug 2003

Nutritionist warns parents on importance of breakfast

Rizky KD Ntoma, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Dita, 10, eats breakfast every morning but this is largely due to her mother who routinely prepares the meal for her.

"I have cereal and milk for breakfast, that's all," she said.

However, the Al-Azhar elementary school fourth year student is not aware of the importance of the meal.

"I have no idea how breakfast can help me to understand my lessons," she said.

Eight-year-old Nuel prefers to replace breakfast with a glass of milk before school.

"I just drink milk. Occasionally I eat bread or noodles if I want to," he said.

Nutritionist Rienanny Mahadi said at the Koko Olimpiade quiz that many parents and children still do not realize the importance of breakfast.

"Indonesians tend to skip breakfast as they think it's not important but a nutritious breakfast helps children to concentrate on their studies," she said.

"My survey recently revealed that children who have breakfast before school can understand subjects better and faster than those who skip breakfast," she added.

Marketing head for PT Nestle Indonesia Breakfast Cereal division Suprijadi said that the company started to promote the importance of a nutritious breakfast for children three years ago.

"Parents serve breakfast every morning but sometimes they have no idea what foods are appropriate for their children," he said.

"Children's breakfasts should be made up of carbohydrates, protein, and calcium," he added.

The Koko Olimpiade quiz was participated in by 36 elementary schools. Each school was represented by six of their best students who competed in the areas of general knowledge, Indonesian language, English and mathematics.