Adults who skipped breakfast had a higher risk for cardiovascular mortality, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers of this study evaluated the relationship between skipping breakfast and the risk for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III was used to obtain information on basic demographics, socioeconomic, physical activity, and frequency of eating breakfast for adults 40 to 75 years old. Recall interviews were used to determine dietary information. The National Center for Health Statistics’ National Death Index was used to determine mortality status.

Of the 6550 participants included in this study, 48% were men, and the mean age was 53.2 years old. Overall, 5.1% never ate breakfast, 10.9% rarely ate breakfast, 25% ate breakfast some days, and 59% ate breakfast every day. After a median follow-up of 18.8 years, a total of 2318 deaths occurred, with 619 being related to cardiovascular disease.

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After fully adjusting for covariates, adults who never ate breakfast had a hazard ratio of 1.19 (95% CI, 0.99-1.42) for all-cause mortality and a hazard ratio of 1.87 (95% CI, 1.14-3.04) for cardiovascular mortality. Further analysis indicated that the association between skipping breakfast and stroke-specific mortality had a hazard ratio of 3.39 (95% CI, 1.4-8.24).

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Limitations of this study include the inability to assess foods consumed at breakfast, if changes in eating breakfast occurred between data collection and follow-up, and potential inaccuracy in reports on the National Death Index.

The researchers concluded “[r]egularly skipping breakfast in a middle-aged and older population without known [cardiovascular disease] is associated with an increased risk of death from [cardiovascular disease].”


Rong S, Snetselaar LG, Xu G, et al. Association of skipping breakfast with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;73(16):2025-2032.