Skipping Breakfast Linked with Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Death

Skipping breakfast was associated with an increase in the risk for mortality from cardiovascular disease, according to results of a new analysis.

Researchers for the paper, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, conducted a prospective cohort study with a nationally representative sample of 6,550 adults between age 40 and 75 who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III 1988 to 1994. Frequency of breakfast consumption was ascertained with in-home interviews, and death causes were ascertained by linking to death records through December 2011. The researchers then used Cox proportional hazards regression models to examine the associations between breakfast consumption frequency and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Mean age of study participants was 53.2 years, and the population was 48% male).

According to the study results, 5.1% of participants in the study never consumed breakfast, 25.0% consumed breakfast only on some days, and 59%.0% consumed breakfast daily. There were 112,148 person-years of follow-up. Of the 2,318 deaths that occurred, 619 of them were due to cardiovascular disease. Participants who never consumed breakfast had hazard ratios of 1.87 (95% CI, 1.14 to 3.04) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.19 (95% CI, 0.99 to 1.42) for all-cause mortality when compared to those who consumed the meal every day. This was after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity/socioeconomic status, dietary factors, and lifestyle factors.

In Line With Prior Findings

“In a nationally representative cohort with 17 to 23 years of follow-up, skipping breakfast was associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease,” the researchers wrote in their abstract. “Our study supports the benefits of eating breakfast in promoting cardiovascular health.”

In an accompanying editorial, the authors said that the results jibe with previous research regarding skipping breakfast and risks to heart health.

“The results of Rong et al reported here are relevant because they show for the first time the prospective association between skipping breakfast and risk of cardiovascular mortality,” they wrote. “As the investigators point out, the results are in line with previous published reports on the association between skipping breakfast and cardiovascular disease, including higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and hemorrhage, and subclinical atherosclerosis.”

Reaction on social media, however, was mixed.