Non-breakfast-eaters were generally hungrier later in the day and ate more food at night, perhaps leading to metabolic changes and heart disease. The study was published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation.
The researchers analyzed food questionnaire data and health outcomes from 1992–2008 on 26,902 male health professionals, ages 45–82. During the study, 1,572 of the men had cardiac events. Even after accounting for diet, physical activity, smoking, and other lifestyle factors, the association between skipping breakfast and heart disease persisted.
"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 lead author Leah Cahill, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in HSPH's Dept. of Nutrition.
While the study group was composed mostly of white men, the results are likely to apply to women and other ethnic groups, but additional studies should be conducted, the researchers said.