The dictum 'breakfast like a king, lunch as a prince, and dinner as a pauper' has been turned on its head as the findings of a new report from the UK reveal that nearly a third of British schoolchildren do not eat breakfast - with some even admitting they are skipping it to lose weight.
In the same week that a report from breakfast cereal giant Kelloggs reveals that US consumers are particularly partial to chocolate milk on their cereal - and from time to time melted chocolate - a survey carried out by the National Farmers Union (NFU) reveals that many children aged between four and 14 are missing out on the most important meal of the day.
According to the findings, 11 per cent of those who skip breakfast do so to achieve weight loss, and oversleeping was given as a reason for not eating breakfast by 25 per cent of respondents. In addition, 21 per cent revealed a lack of time.
For those who actually do eat breakfast, fruit was low down on the agenda of favourite ways to start the day. The NFU survey showed that cereal was chosen by 43 per cent, porridge by 30 per cent and a cooked breakfast by 13 per cent. None of the children questioned ate fruit.
In a bid to emphasise the importance of breakfast as part of a healthy dietary regime, several organisations in the UK have grouped together to celebrate 'Farmhouse Breakfast week'. From the 19-25 January, schools all over the UK are being encouraged to take part by serving up traditional British breakfasts - including fruit, one hopes.
Organisers include the Home Grown Cereals Authority, Food From Britain, the Meat and Livestock Commission and Lion Quality Eggs.
NFU member and Farmhouse Breakfast Week organiser Maggie Berry commented: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it's rapidly becoming a thing of the past for some school children.
"Farmhouse Breakfast week aims to remind us all how crucial breakfast is to everyone's health and wellbeing, but particularly our children's."
Who is at fault, one asks? Society as a whole may be responsible for this shift in dietary patterns in the lives of children. Any survey of food consumption in Europe today will reveal the increasing tendency towards convenience foods as consumers find less time - and arguably less desire - to actually cook in the kitchen. But on the flip-side, health practitioners communicate on a constant basis that breakfast is essential to kick-start the system in the morning - and not least for children.
Initiatives such as the 'Farmhouse Breakfast week' - whatever their motives - that take place in schools are one solution to improving the problem. If kids, for whatever reason, do not breakfast at home, then schools must clearly be involved in answering these needs.