The study found that men who don’t eat breakfast at 27 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks or heart disease than those who eat a regular morning meal.
“It’s a really simple message: Breakfast is an important meal,” senior author Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health told the Associated Press.
To complete the study, researchers looked at food questionnaire data and health outcomes from 1992 to 2008 from nearly 27,000 male health professionals between the ages of 45 and 82. More than 1,500 of these men had cardiac events, and after accounting for diet, physical activity, smoking and other lifestyle factors, the association between skipping breakfast and heart disease persisted.
Non-breakfast eaters were also hungrier later in the day and ate more food at night, potentially contributing to metabolic changes and heart disease.
“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,” lead author Leah Cahill, postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, said in an American Heart Association statement.
Other research suggests that eating more protein for breakfast is also beneficial, and with a large proportion of milk consumed with breakfast, it may be the perfect opportunity to reverse the long downward slide in per-capita milk consumption.
In 2011, Steven Goldbach, partner at the Monitor research firm, outlined a marketing strategy for milk that included promoting breakfast. Read more here.