Researchers have found that not eating breakfast was significantly associated with greater risk for cardiovascular-related death, particularly from stroke.

Skipping Breakfast Linked To Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Risk

In a new study, Wei Bao, from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues involved 6,550 participants who were asked how often they ate breakfast.

Of these participants, 336 never consumed breakfast, 713 rarely ate breakfast, 1,639 consumed breakfast most days, and 3,862 ate breakfast every day. Over the course of the follow-up period, 2,318 of the participants died, 619 of whom died from causes attributable to cardiovascular disease.

After adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, dietary and lifestyle factors, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that the participants who never had breakfast had 87 percent greater risk of dying from cardiovascular causes compared with those who had breakfast every day.

"Participants who never consumed breakfast compared with those consuming breakfast everyday had hazard ratios of 1.87 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.14 to 3.04) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.19 (95 percent confidence interval: 0.99 to 1.42) for all-cause mortality," Bao and colleagues wrote in their study.

Most Important Meal Of The Day

The researchers said that skipping breakfast was associated with elevated blood pressure and appetite changes, so a person does not feel full and tend to overeat later in the day. It leads to damaging changes in lipid levels such as higher levels of total cholesterol and bad cholesterol, which can raise a person's risk of heart disease.

The researchers said their study provides another evidence of the importance of the first meal of the day.

"Breakfast is traditionally believed as the most or at least one of the most important meals of the day, but there are not much data available to say 'yes' or 'no' to this belief. Our paper is among the ones that provide evidence to support long-term benefits," Bao said.

The findings were published in the April 30 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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