People who reported skipping breakfast during childhood and adulthood had more risk factors for heart disease than their peers who ate a morning meal at both time points said researchers from the University of Tasmania.
To investigate the long-term effects of not eating breakfast, researchers analyzed data from the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study, in which participants were surveyed in 1985, when they were 9 to 15 years old, and again in 2004-2005.
Children were categorized as not eating breakfast if they said they didn't eat anything before school, while adults were considered to have skipped breakfast if they didn't eat between 6 and 9 a.m.
Among nearly 2,200 study participants, about 1,400 didn't skip breakfast at either time point; 224 only skipped breakfast in childhood; 515 only skipped breakfast as adults; and 86 skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood.
The researchers found that people who consistently didn't eat breakfast had waists that were nearly 2 inches (5 cm) larger, on average, than people who ate breakfast as children and as adults.
They also had higher insulin levels and higher levels of total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol.
Some studies have found that people who don't eat breakfast tend to have worse eating behaviors and are less active than people who do, while some research has linked skipping breakfast with weight gain. There is also some evidence that people who don't eat in the morning are more prone to high cholesterol.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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