In some cultures only one or only two meals a day are eaten, and the timing of these can vary.
Work and sleep patterns probably influence eating patterns more than the reverse. However, early
afternoon sleepiness occurs in many cultures, although it is not yet known the extent to which this
is connected with midday eating.
Whether one has breakfast may well influence eating behaviour later in the day. For example,
work in Melbourne, Australia, indicates that children who do not have breakfast are more likely
than others to want to eat during the morning, and then the food available is critical - if it is only
confectionery or soft drinks, this is what they will have. On the other hand, an office worker who
has only coffee for breakfast may eat a nutritionally useful mid-morning snack, or be so occupied
until lunchtime that the lack of breakfast does not affect the food they choose when they do eat.
Many people say they simply do not feel like eating breakfast. We need to know more about the
connections between eating patterns and long-term health. In the meantime, if someone finds that
by having breakfast they are less hungry later, and more likely to make wise food choices, then it
would seem worth having breakfast.
On the question of exercise (energy expenditure) and breakfast, many-people find it more
comfortable to exercise before eating. In addition, exercising early in the day may increase the rate
at which we use energy throughout the day, but it is arguable just how important this might be in