Men who regularly skip breakfast are at a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who don’t.
Researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes for 16 years (1992-2008) on 26,902 male health professionals ages 45-82.
The study suggested that men who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who did, and were more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol.
It was also found that men who reported eating late at night- eating after going to bed- had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn't. But researchers were less convinced this was a major public health concern because few men in the study reported this behavior.
During the study, 1,572 of the men had first-time cardiac events.
“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,” Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., study lead author and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass said.
Men who reported eating breakfast ate on average one more time per day than those who skipped breakfast, implying that those who abstained from breakfast were not eating additional make-up meals later in the day.
Although there was some overlap between those who skipped breakfast and those who ate late at night, 76 percent of late-night eaters also ate breakfast, researchers said.
According to researchers, while the current study group was composed of men who were of 97 percent white European descent, the results should also apply to women and other ethnic groups, but this should be tested in additional studies.
The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.