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Study links skipping breakfast to heart problems

Men who reported regularly skipping breakfast had a higher risk of cardiac arrest or fatal coronary heart disease, according to a study.

Researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes for 16 years (1992-2008) on 26,902 male health professionals ages 45 to 82. During the study, findings of which were published July 22 on the website of the journal Circulation, 1,572 men in the study had first-time cardiac events.

The researchers found that men who reported skipping breakfast had a 27% higher risk of cardiac arrest or death from coronary heart disease than those who reported not skipping breakfast.

Men who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who reported eating breakfast regularly, and were more likely to be smokers, employed full-time, unmarried and less physically active, and to drink more alcohol.

“Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time,” Leah E. Cahill, PhD, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said in a news release.

Men who reported eating breakfast ate, on average, one more time per day than those who skipped breakfast, indicating those who abstained from breakfast were not eating additional make-up meals later in the day.

In another finding, men who reported eating late at night (defined as eating after going to bed) had a 55% higher coronary heart disease risk than those who did not. Although there was some overlap between those who skipped breakfast and those who ate late at night, 76% of late-night eaters also ate breakfast, the researchers reported.

The study collected comprehensive questionnaire data from the participants and accounted for factors such as TV watching, physical activity, sleep, diet quality, alcohol intake, medical history, BMI and social factors such as whether or not participants worked full-time, were married, saw their physician regularly for physical exams or smoked currently or in the past.

Although the study cohort mostly was men of white European descent, the results should also apply to women and other ethnic groups, the researchers said, adding this premise should be tested in additional studies.

“Don’t skip breakfast,” Cahill said. “Incorporating many types of healthy foods into your breakfast is an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. For example, adding nuts and chopped fruit to a bowl of whole-grain cereal or steel-cut oatmeal in the morning is a great way to start the day.”

Read the study abstract:

By | 2013-07-23T00:00:00-04:00 July 23rd, 2013|Categories: National|0 Comments

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