Bad Breakfast Habits in Young, Metabolic Syndrome in Adults

January 29, 2014

Poor breakfast habits in adolescence predict the metabolic syndrome in adulthood, according to a recent study.

Poor breakfast habits in adolescence predict the metabolic syndrome in adulthood, according to a recent study. The incidence of metabolic syndrome in adolescents in the study who ate poor breakfasts was higher 27 years later than in those who ate more substantial breakfasts. The poor breakfast habits in adolescence predicted central obesity and high fasting glucose in adulthood.

Wennberg and colleagues in the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, Umea˚ University, Umea˚, Sweden, conducted a prospective study of adolescents in the Northern Swedish Cohort, a longitudinal population-based cohort, with 27-year follow-up. They used questionnaires to assess breakfast habits and other lifestyle variables at age 16 years. Poor breakfast habits were defined as skipping breakfast or only drinking or eating something sweet. At age 43 years, the effective sample consisted of 889 participants defined as having the metabolic syndrome or not, using the International Diabetes Federation criteria.

The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years was 27.0%; 9.9% of the participants were classified as having poor breakfast habits at age 16 years. The incidence of metabolic syndrome was 68% higher in the adolescents who neglected to eat breakfast or ate a poor breakfast as adults than in those who had eaten more substantial breakfasts in their youth. The subcomponents that at adult age could be most clearly linked with poor breakfast in youth were abdominal obesity and high levels of fasting blood glucose levels.

“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,” said lead author Maria Wennberg.

The study was published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.