(StatePoint) — Everyone knows it’s important to make sure children have breakfast before school, but college students and busy parents also need a dose of morning nutrition.

Breakfast, which refers to “breaking the fast,” is the first meal of the day, usually consumed when the body has gone about eight to 10 hours without food.  Eating breakfast is often associated with a higher nutrient intake and being a smart way to start the day.

When it comes to college students and parents, far too many admit to being a breakfast skipper. Thirty-one million adults skip breakfast, according to a recent National Eating Trends survey. And millennials, aged 18-34, are the largest population of breakfast skippers.

Today, with schedules busier than ever, it’s easy to simply focus on getting the day started. “Whether you’re in college or chasing after school-age kids, it’s easy to forgo breakfast to stay on-schedule,” says Betsy Frost, manager at General Mills. The tradeoff hits mid-morning with the feeling of being hungry or irritable, she adds. Frost and her colleagues recently unveiled BFAST, a new breakfast shake containing the nutrition of a bowl of cereal and milk, in chocolate, vanilla and berry flavors. More information is available at bfastshake.com

On-the-go parents and college students increasingly are opting for easy options they can consume on their way to work or class, or while getting ready to race out the door, say food industry experts. We’ve all heard from our mothers that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and now there is research to support the benefits of breakfast:

• Breakfast consumers have healthier body weights: People who consumed breakfast daily had 20 percent lower risk of developing obesity and 19 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a breakfast frequency and metabolism study conducted in 2013 by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

• Breakfast can make you healthier: People aged 20 – 39 who regularly had breakfast, including ready-to-eat cereal, had lower cholesterol levels and were less likely to have high blood pressure, compared with breakfast skippers, according to a study published in 2012 by The Nutrition Society.

It’s important to get all members of your family to have breakfast, no matter if they are grade schoolers about to board the school bus, college kids racing to their first class, or busy moms and dads trying to juggle it all.