Japanese men who reported skipping breakfast at least 4 days per week experienced greater increase in BMI over 5 years compared with men who reported eating breakfast every day, according to published findings.
“Recently, unhealthy dietary habits related to chrononutrition, such as skipping breakfast, timing of meals, speed of eating and the order of food consumption during a meal, are reportedly associated with metabolic abnormalities,” Masaru Sakurai, MD, PhD, of the department of social and environmental medicine at Kanazawa Medical University in Ishikawa, Japan, and colleagues wrote. “Skipping breakfast has been associated with a lack of feeding satiety, postprandial hyperinsulinemia, expression of the biological clock gene and circadian rhythms of glucose metabolism, which may cause body weight gain.”
Sakurai and colleagues analyzed data from 4,430 Japanese factory employees (2,651 men; mean age for men, 39 years; mean age for women, 40 years) who undergo annual health exams. BMI and waist circumference were measured repeatedly at annual medical examinations during a 5-year period beginning in 2009; mean baseline BMI was 23.3 kg/m² for men and 21.9 kg/m² for women; mean waist circumference was 82.6 cm for men and 77.8 cm for women; 35.3% of men and 10% of women exhibited abdominal obesity at baseline, as defined by Japanese criteria for metabolic syndrome. Participants completed the Diet History Questionnaire to estimate the dietary intake of macronutrients and micronutrients for epidemiologic studies in Japan. Frequency of skipping breakfast was self-reported by answering the question, “How many times do you skip breakfast in a week?” Responses ranged from 0 (eat breakfast every day) to 7 (never eat breakfast).
The association between the frequency of skipping breakfast at the baseline examination and annual changes in anthropometric indices was evaluated using the generalized estimating equation method. Within the cohort, 68.2% of men and 74.4% of women reported eating breakfast every day; 10.6% of men and 6.4% of women reported never eating breakfast. Those who skipped breakfast were more likely to be younger, to have lower total energy intake, lower carbohydrate intake and higher fat intake, and to be current smokers; men skipping breakfast were also less likely to exercise habitually.
During follow-up, mean BMI increased 0.2 kg/m² for men and women, and mean waist circumference increased 1.1 cm for men and 1 cm for women. After adjustment for age, the annual change in the BMI of men who skipped breakfast four to six times per week was 0.061 kg/m² higher compared with those who ate breakfast daily, whereas those who reported skipping breakfast seven times per week experienced BMI gains that were an average 0.046 kg/m² higher vs. those who did not skip breakfast.
Men who skipped breakfast four to six times per week experienced a mean increase in waist circumference that was 0.2 cm vs. men who ate breakfast every day; men who skipped breakfast every day had a mean increase of 0.21 cm vs. men who ate breakfast every day.
Annual changes in the waist circumference of male participants who skipped breakfast seven times per week was 0.248 cm higher than that of those who did not skip breakfast.
Skipping breakfast was not associated with changes in BMI or waist circumference in women, according to the researchers.
“These associations were particularly pronounced among younger participants,” the researchers wrote. “The increase in the number of obese, young to middle-aged men is a major problem in Japan, and eating breakfast > four times [per] week may prevent obesity in Japanese men.” – by Regina Schaffer
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.