It is often said that a breakfast diet is important for our health. A study conducted by Umeå University, published in Public Health Nutrition, now proves that poor breakfast growing up is linked to metabolic syndrome in adulthood.
The study revealed that adolescents who had a poor breakfast diet displayed a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome 27 years later, compared with those who ate more substantial breakfasts.
Metabolic syndrome is a collective term for factors that are linked to an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Metabolic syndrome encompasses abdominal obesity, high levels of harmful triglycerides, low levels of protective HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), high blood pressure and high fasting blood glucose levels.
The study asked all students completing year 9 of their schooling in Luleå in 1981 (Northern Swedish Cohort) to answer questions about what they ate for breakfast. 27 years later, the respondents underwent a health check where the presence of metabolic syndrome and its various subcomponents were investigated.
The study shows that the young people who neglected to eat breakfast or had a poor breakfast diet had a 68% higher incidence of metabolic syndrome as adults, compared with those who had eaten more substantial breakfasts in their youth.
This conclusion was drawn after taking into account socioeconomic factors and other lifestyle habits of the adolescents in question. Abdominal obesity and high levels of fasting blood glucose levels were the sub-components which, at adult age, could be most clearly linked with poor breakfast diet in youth.
“Further studies are required for us to be able to understand the mechanisms involved in the connection between poor breakfast and metabolic syndrome, but our results and those of several previous studies suggest that a poor breakfast can have a negative effect on blood sugar regulation,” says Maria Wennberg, the study’s main author.