Teens Who Skip Breakfast May Face Metabolic Syndrome Risk In Middle Age

Teenagers who don't eat breakfast or who only eat or drink something sweet for breakfast may face a higher risk of metabolic syndrome decades later, according to a new study.

The odds of developing metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions including high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, high glucose levels and abdominal obesity that raises diabetes and stroke risk -- 27 years later was higher among people who had poor breakfast habits as teens, found researchers from Umea University.

"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," study researcher Maria Wennberg said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, is based on data from 889 people who were part of the Northern Swedish Cohort. Study participants answered questions when they were age 16 about their breakfast habits, and then were followed up with again when they were age 43 to see if they had developed metabolic syndrome.

By the end of the study period, 27 percent of the participants had developed metabolic syndrome. Researchers found an association between eating a poor breakfast as a teenager and a 68 percent higher incidence of metabolic syndrome at the end of the follow-up period.

Central obesity and high fasting glucose levels were especially strongly linked with poor breakfast habits in adolescence.

Previously, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora showed that skipping breakfast could be especially detrimental to women who are overweight, in that it seems to temporarily induce insulin resistance -- a known diabetes risk factor -- in this group.

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