Skipping Breakfast and Health Effects



The habit of skipping breakfast has become quite common in many countries not only among adults but also among teenagers. It is due to various reasons. In particular, many people simply do not have time to eat breakfast. They are afraid to be late for school or work and therefore skip breakfast replacing it with a cup of coffee or tea. Those who are difficult to wake up in the morning do not want to eat at all and eventually skip breakfast. Finally, skipping breakfast can be justified by a desire to lose weight. It is rather a popular excuse primarily among girls and women who want to lose weight and think that skipping breakfast can be considered as an effective method for it. Anyone who is on a diet believes that if he/she refuses breakfast he/she will be able to lose weight quickly and effectively. Nevertheless, given that the human body is constantly in need of nutrients, one needs to doubt the justification of such an approach as well as its positive impact on the body. This annotated bibliography example is devoted to the analysis of the issue and refers to various empirical studies considering the effect of skipping breakfast on human health.

Annotation: Skipping Breakfast

  • Cahill, L. E., Chiuve, S. E., Mekary, R. A., Jensen, M. K., Flint, A. J., Hu, F. B., & E. B. Rimm. (2013). A prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation, 128, 337-343. DOI: 10.1161/?CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001474

Scholars from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data on the frequency of eating of nearly 27,000 people aged 45 to 82 years working in health care. The data have been gathered for 16 years (from 1992 to 2008). During the study, more than 1.5 thousand people were first diagnosed as having problems with the heart. It turned out that in the men who often skipped breakfast the risk of heart attack and death due to ischemic heart disease was 27% higher than in those who did not miss the breakfast. Also, the first group was often formed by young single men, who were smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol. Besides, the group was formed by the men employed full-time, who were less physically active. As a result of the study, the researchers concluded that skipping breakfast affects multiple risk factors including overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which can eventually lead to a heart attack. The study looks quite thoughtful and empirically confirmed. Its main advantage is that it allows one to see the relationship between cardiovascular disease and skipping breakfast, thus making it possible to prevent this serious disease. Given that cardiovascular diseases are highly prevalent worldwide, this research can be seen as a significant contribution to the development of modern preventive health measures.

  • Ma, Y., Bertone, E. R., Stanek, E. J., Reed, G. W., Hebert, J. R., Cohen, N. L., … Ockene, I. S. (2003). Association between eating patterns and obesity in a free-living US adult population. American Journal of Epidemiology, 158(1), 85-92. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwg117

This article is the result of the research conducted by scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School to determine the influence of certain eating patterns on the occurrence of obesity. Based on the analysis of the physical condition of all participants (men and women), the scientists have concluded that eating patterns play an undeniable role in the incidence of obesity. The scientists also analyzed data obtained concerning the question of the relationship between skipping breakfast and the risk of obesity. The investigation revealed that those who deny the morning breakfast are four times more likely to have problems with obesity in the future. The article is of special interest since it provides additional material to that given by the two preceding articles. They considered the connection between obesity among adolescents and oldster. In turn, this article sheds light on the problem of obesity and its association with skipping breakfast among people of mature age. It gives one the possibility to learn the peculiarities of the development of obesity in particular as a result of an imbalance in the body caused by improper diet. Moreover, appeal to this article enables one to understand the reasons for the spread of obesity among not only teenagers but also adults worldwide. Indeed, obesity is a disease of the 21st century faced by both men and women. Analysis of this phenomenon as a result of improper diet including skipping breakfast is an urgent necessity the main objective of which is to help reduce the spread of the problem.

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  • Mekary, R. A., Giovannucci, E., Willett, W. C., van Dam, R. M., & Hu, F. B. (2012). Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in men: breakfast omission, eating frequency and snacking. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(5), 1182-1189. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.111.028209

The authors of the study experimentally investigated the relationship between skipping breakfast and the risk of development of type 2 diabetes in men. The study involved 29,206 US men, who did not suffer diseases such as cardiovascular disease, T2D, and cancer. The results showed that men who skipped breakfast were more prone to develop type 2 diabetes (21%) than those who regularly consumed breakfast. Thus, it was experimentally proved that skipping at least one meal (breakfast) may adversely affect the future health of men, because it raises the level of LDL cholesterol and the serum triglyceride concentration, disrupting the balance of trace elements in the human body. The study is of particular interest because it gives one more option to prevent such serious diseases as type 2 diabetes. The advantage of the research is that it was carried out among a large number of men, which increases the validity of its results and conclusions. Nevertheless, the main drawback of the study is that the researchers did not pay attention to the composition of the breakfast, which was interpreted by each man individually. Given the relevance of preventing type 2 diabetes risk, it would make sense to analyze the features of nutrition of those men who had the least risk of development of the disease. Overall, the study looks thoughtful expanding opportunities for further research in this area.

  • Niemeier, H. M., Raynor, H. A., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Rogers, M. L., & Wing, R. R. (2006). Fast-food consumption and breakfast skipping: Predictors of weight gain from adolescence to adulthood in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39(6), 842–849. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.07.001.

Researchers from the Miriam Hospital/Brown Medical School conducted a study among 9919 adolescents dividing them into two age groups. One group consisted of participants aged 11-21 years, and the second comprised participants aged 18-27 years. The objective was to find empirical evidence that skipping breakfast increases the risk of obesity in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. As a result of the study, researchers concluded that the risk of obesity in the transition from one age to another is increased if a person skips breakfast and abuses fast food since childhood. The article is particularly important given the fact that obesity has many negative health consequences not only for children but also for adults. The fact that this article considers the negative effects of skipping breakfast on health in the form of obesity makes its use particularly relevant. As is known, obesity leads to a multitude of health problems, such as high blood pressure, swelling of feet, shortness of breath, etc. Generally, obesity is a medical and social problem that greatly affects the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis, hypertension, myocardial infarction, etc.), cancers, endocrine disorders (diabetes), and sexual function. Thus, the article complements the basic research devoted to the issue of the negative impact of skipping breakfast on the human body.

  • Sierra-Johnson, J., Unden, A.-L., Lindstrand, M., Rosell, M., Sjogren, P., Kolak, M., … Hellenius, M.-L. (2008). Eating meals irregularly: A novel environmental risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Obesity, 16(6), 1302–1307. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.203

The article is devoted to the study conducted in Stockholm County, Sweden among 3,607 participants (1,686 men and 1,921 women), aged 60 years. Based on the study, the researchers found an association between breakfast and the development of various diseases. In particular, they concluded that skipping breakfast for a long time leads to cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and metabolic problems, increasing the risk of these diseases by 7 percent. Metabolic syndrome is a disease rapidly spreading across the planet and associated with an increase in obesity. Metabolic syndrome includes the disturbance of glucose (increase in blood glucose and the disturbance of glucose tolerance), the disturbance of lipids (dyslipidemia that is increasing in the levels of "bad" cholesterol), high blood pressure, and abdominal type of obesity (waist circumference over 88 cm in women and more than 102 cm in men). In everyday life, metabolic syndrome looks like two diagnoses: obesity and hypertension. Thus, the study allowed one to see the connection between skipping breakfast and increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which in turn results in various health problems and physical conditions of a person. The article gives a complete description of the methodology of the study and proves the validity of the findings. The article is of interest since much of the research related to the problem of skipping breakfast considers either teenagers or mature people within the 25 - 45 years. The analysis of the impact of skipping breakfast on the health of 60-year-olds (both men and women) allows one to receive a more general picture of the issue.


To date, there is plenty of evidence that eating breakfast is important to be healthy. In particular, previous studies conducted by various researchers have shown that a hearty breakfast reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and blood pressure. It has been found that skipping the morning meal increases the need for energy-dense foods throughout the day. Some scientists showed that a daily breakfast helps reduce metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collective term for a group of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. A man is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if he/she has three or more risk factors, namely a high level of triglycerides, low concentrations of good cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. Besides, skipping the morning meal leads to an increased level of blood sugar that makes people more irritable and encourages them to overeat at dinner time. It, in turn, results in the emergence of obesity, which is a very common disease throughout the world not only among teenagers but also among adults.

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