According to an online survey* conducted by the IRFU, 21% of young people between the age of 14-18 years regularly skip breakfast and 71% of those skipping breakfast do so 3 or more times each week.
Although a larger proportion of the 19-24 age bracket are skipping breakfast regularly (48%), the number of this group skipping breakfast 3 or more times a week is considerably lower than the 14-18 age bracket at just 30%.
The IRFU’s Nutrition Department is advising all young athletes and in particular rugby players that a healthy breakfast is the essential first building block in an athlete’s daily diet.
Nora Ní Fhlannagáin, performance nutritionist with the IRFU, said: “A healthy breakfast will provide the necessary fuel at the start of the day to enable young players to make good decisions about pre-exercise meals, training snacks, recovery refuelling and hydration and enable them to perform to their maximum capability.
“Having a healthy breakfast each day enables you to make positive food choices throughout the day and prevents your body from having cravings which can result in poor food choices.
“Breakfast is the foundation in building a healthy diet that will allow young athletes to perform to their full potential.”
The IRFU’s Nutrition Department is relaunching its Eat2Compete initiative for the 2014/15 season with a week-long social media campaign aimed at providing nutrition advice that will enable all young rugby players to fulfill their potential through healthy food choices.
The campaign will include a series of short videos on topics such as the Benefits of Breakfast, Eat Well, Stay Well and Play Well, Hydration, Recovery and Match Day Preparation – which will be viewable on the IRFU’s Facebook, Twitter pages and YouTube channel by searching #eat2compete.
The Eat2Compete fact sheets are available to download from the IRFU website: www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete
* The IRFU carried out an online survey of 738 people across the island of Ireland with a male female split of 51%:49%.