Higher risk of coronary disease for those who skip breakfast

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and for several good reasons, but skipping it, for whatever excuse, may not be such a good idea.

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers suggests that men who skip breakfast have a higher risk of a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease.

The observational study that was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, revealed that men who do not have breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack, than those who ate breakfast regularly.

The 16-year-long study, conducted between 1992 and 2009, tracked 26,902 men in the health profession, between the ages 45-82, which included medical history, diet, physical activity and lifestyles of the men involved.

During the study, nearly 1,600 men suffered fatal or non-fatal heart attacks, including 171 who had said they regularly skipped breakfast.

Those who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who did, and more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol.

The study also revealed that men who ate after going to bed had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn’t, but the researchers warned the overall risk was small, because few men reported midnight snacking.

“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,” said Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and postdoctoral research fellow in the nutrition department at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.

While researchers asked numerous questions they did not delve in what participants actually ate for breakfast. So whether they ate a highly caloric breakfast or just a healthy bowl cereal topped off with fruit wasn’t taken into account.

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