Not only is breakfast good for weight management, but it is also good for reducing other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as blood insulin and cholesterol levels, researchers say.
Skipping breakfast is a fairly common practice with 23 per cent of adults and 10 per cent of children reporting they did not regularly eat breakfast in the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (Australia) and there is evidence that skipping breakfast is becoming more common. Dangers in such a practice have now been revealed.
"People who reported skipping breakfast both during childhood and adulthood had more risk factors for diabetes and heart disease than their peers who ate breakfast at both times in the study," said PhD student Ms Kylie Smith at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania. She is the first author and chief investigator of the new study.
The investigation was part of the national Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) study. Over 2,000 participants were involved with the breakfast skipping study.
"We used data from a large nation-wide study with a 20 year follow-up from childhood to early adulthood."
"Compared to those who ate breakfast both as a child and an adult, those who skipped breakfast on both occasions had a larger waist circumference, and had higher fasting insulin, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), which are all risk factors for heart disease and diabetes," Ms Smith said.
Senior author, Menzies' Deputy Director, Professor Alison Venn said overall the findings support that people should aim to have a healthy, balanced diet, and eating a healthy breakfast is part of this.
"Promoting the benefits of eating breakfast could be a simple and important public health message," Prof Venn said.
Prof Venn said parents should set a good example for their children by eating a healthy breakfast every day.
The study included authors from Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, Deakin University and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
The new study was recently published online in the international journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
This research was funded by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation, the Tasmanian Community Fund, and Veolia Environmental Services.