Taking five regular meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks a day can reduce the risk of obesity in adolescents.
The aim of the research based on Finnish population with more than 4,000 participants was to identify early-life risk factors associated with obesity, to investigate the association between meal frequencies, obesity and metabolic syndrome, and to examine whether meal frequency could modulate the effect of common genetic variants linked to obesity.
According to the results, a regular five-meal pattern was associated with a reduced risk of overweight and obesity in both sexes and with a reduced risk of abdominal obesity in boys.
Moreover, the regular five-meal pattern attenuated the BMI-increasing effect of the common genetic variants. Conversely, skipping breakfast was associated with greater BMI and waist circumference.
The study is published in Journal PLOS One.