Children who eat breakfast every day perform as well in tests as students who are 18 months older but skip food in the morning, a Chinese University study found.
One academic said starting the day with a good meal was more beneficial for young people than signing them up for extra tutorials.
But the right food is equally important, with a combination of carbohydrates and protein being the optimal meal.
Researchers analysing data from 15,000 students and 12,000 parents over the past six months were alarmed to discover that fewer pupils eat breakfast regularly as they grow older.
While 75 per cent of Primary Three students eat breakfast seven days a week, 13 per cent of Secondary Three students indicated they never ate breakfast.
Students who ate breakfast every day scored 30 to 50 points more in two internationally recognised tests – the Programme for International Student Assessment and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.
Young Post junior reporter Rai Anna-l, 18, from the University of Hong Kong, said skipping breakfast was unhealthy.
“The days I skip breakfast I feel tired all day and my growling stomach is distracting. Eating breakfast energises me,” she said.
Young Post junior reporter Clement O’Young, 15, from Sha Tin College, disagreed with the study.
“There are two other meals with larger portions. It’s also easier to skip breakfast as mornings are already a rush,” he said.
Edited by Lucy Christie