Eating breakfast guards against heart-related deaths

April 22, 2019 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Eating breakfast guards against heart-related deaths

New evidence from the University of Iowa underscores the importance of eating breakfast every day, according to a new study that found skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease. 

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 with an average follow-up of 18 years, researchers collected information from 6,550 participants, aged 40 to 75, who had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Participants were asked "How often do you eat breakfast?" and possible answers included, "every day," "some days," "rarely" and "never."

Among the participants, 5.1 percent never ate breakfast, 10.9 percent rarely ate breakfast, 25 percent ate breakfast some days, while 6 out of 10 participants (59%) ate breakfast every day.

After a person's age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and health status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had an 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day.

How breakfast can increase cardiovascular deaths

Researchers said skipping breakfast was associated with changes in appetite and decreased satiety, elevated blood pressure, and harmful changes in lipid levels. It was also a behavioral marker for unhealthy lifestyle habits.

They also noted that skipping breakfast has been associated with a greater risk of obesity, elevated blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.


The study had limitations, including that the data did not include information about what types of foods or drinks were consumed for breakfast and whether a person's breakfast consumption patterns changed between 1994 and when the follow-up mortality data was collected.

Source: Journal American College Cardiology, April 16, 2019.

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