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Skipping breakfast may increase heart disease risk


09:26, July 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Men who reported that they regularly skipped breakfast had a higher risk of a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease, a U.S. study said Monday.

The study, published in the U.S. journal Circulation, analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes of over 26,000 men between the ages of 45 and 82, for 16 years, during which time nearly 1,600 had first-time cardiac events.

It found those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease compared with those who reported they didn't.

Breakfast skippers tended to be younger and were more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol, said the study.

"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 Cahill, study lead author and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.

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

In addition, while there was some overlap between those who skipped breakfast and those who ate late at night, 76 percent of late-night eaters ate breakfast.

It also found men who reported eating after going to bed had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn' t. But the researchers were less convinced this was a major public health concern because few men in the study reported this behavior.

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

While the current study group was composed of men who were of 97 percent white European descent, the results should also apply to women and other ethnic groups, but this should be tested in additional studies, the researchers said.

"Don't skip breakfast," Cahill said. "Eating breakfast is associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks. 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."

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