Whether you eat breakfast might be linked with your risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
Skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially stroke-related death, in the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday.
After a person’s age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had a 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day, said Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and senior author of the study.
“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.
“There are a few cardiovascular risk factors – for example diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders,” he said. “Our findings are in line with and supported by previous studies that consistently showed that skipping breakfast is related to those strong risk factors for cardiovascular death.”
Cardiovascular disease – specifically heart disease and stroke – is the leading cause of death in the world, accounting for a combined 15.2 million deaths in 2016, according to the World Health Organization. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Skipping breakfast and cardiovascular death
The study involved data from 1988 to 1994 on 6,550 US adults, aged 40 to 75, who reported how often they ate breakfast in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The survey data generally let respondents define what meal would be considered breakfast.