A Higher Risk of Heart-Related Death Is Significantly Linked to Skipping Breakfast

A recent study revealed that there may be a link between your risk of dying earlier from heart related deaths or stroke-related death and skipping breakfast. This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday., April 22, 2019

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA and led by senior author of the study, Dr. Wei Bao,who wrote that the study revealed that people who never had breakfast at the start of their day had an 87 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with people who had breakfast everyday.  Bao, who is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, said that the study took into consideration the age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status of each participant.

Up until now, it has been an accepted belief that breakfast is at least the most important meal of the day but there has been no data thus far to affirm a yes or no to this long held belief says Bao. This recent study he goes on to say gives evidence to support the long term belief of the benefits of eating breakfast every day.

In the past, studies have shown the importance of eating a meal at the start of the day to allay or decrease cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders. These disorders are risk factors that lead strongly to cardiovascular death.

According to data provided by the World Health organization (WHO), 15.2 million people died in 2016 whose deaths were accounted to cardiovascular disease – heart disease and stroke worldwide. And in the US the leading cause of death is heart disease.  

The study used data by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that was taken from 1984 to 1994 and followed up through 2011 for 6,550 US adults, aged 40 to 75, who recorded how often they had breakfast.

The follow-ups included data which was analyzed to determine the heath status of the participants. Results were over an 18.8 year period that showed 2,318 deaths occurred with 619 of them from cardiovascular disease.

Out of the entire group, 5.1 percent never ate breakfast; 10.9 percent rarely did; 25% had breakfast sometimes; and 59 percent did have breakfast everyday.

According to this study, comparing adults who had breakfast everyday to those who didn’t, the no breakfast group ended up with higher risks of heart disease-related death and stroke-related deaths.

The study did have some limitations in that the types of foods or drinks the participants consumed were not included in the data.  Also, one major issue in the study is that those who skipped breakfast also had unhealthy lifestyles in that most were former smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, had poor diet quality and low family income.