Boston: People who skip breakfast are at a greater risk of developing atherosclerosis – hardening and narrowing of arteries due to a build-up of plaque, a study warns.
Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to promote greater heart health, including healthier weight and cholesterol. Previous studies have linked skipping breakfast to coronary heart disease risk.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated the association between breakfast and the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Researchers, including those from Tufts University in the US, found that atherosclerosis was observed more frequently among participants who skipped breakfast and was also higher in participants who consumed low-energy breakfasts compared to breakfast consumers.
They also noted that cardiometabolic risk markers were more prevalent in those who skipped breakfast and low-energy breakfast consumers compared to breakfast consumers.
Participants who skipped breakfast had the greatest waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure, blood lipids and fasting glucose levels, researchers said.
Those who skipped breakfast were more likely to have an overall unhealthy lifestyle, including poor overall diet, frequent alcohol consumption and smoking.
They were also more likely to be hypertensive and overweight or obese, researchers said.
“Aside from the direct association with cardiovascular risk factors, skipping breakfast might serve as a marker for a general unhealthy diet or lifestyle which in turn is associated with the development and progression of atherosclerosis,” said Jose L Penalvo, assistant professor at Tufts University.
Researchers examined male and female volunteers who were free from cardiovascular or chronic kidney disease.
A computerised questionnaire was used to estimate the usual diet of the participants, and breakfast patterns were based on the percentage of total daily energy intake consumed at breakfast.
Three groups were identified – those consuming less than five per cent of their total energy intake in the morning; those consuming more than 20 per cent of their total energy intake in the morning ; and those consuming between five and 20 per cent.
Of the 4,052 participants, 2.9 per cent skipped breakfast, 69.4 per cent were low-energy breakfast consumers and 27.7 per cent were breakfast consumers, researchers said.
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