Skipping breakfast –boomerang effect for obesity

A recent article shows unfavorable biochemical variables associated with skipping breakfast in obese children and adolescents (J Pediatr 2012; 161: 871-4).

After recruiting 174 Brazilian subjects (6-16 years) through advertising, the investigators assessed their body composition with dual-energy-dray adsorptiometry and assessed fasting blood glucose and lipid profiles.  Face-to-face interviews with parents determined the frequency of skipped meals.  The median BMI in the cohort was 27.

Results:

  • Skipping breakfast was commonplace.  Only 46% of subjects consumed breakfast daily.  Skipping lunch or dinner was infrequent, approximately 10% and 22% at times skipped lunch and dinner respectively.
  • Consumption of breakfast was inversely correlated with the odds of obesity (OR 0.73).
  • Skipping breakfast was correlated with increased glucose, triglycerides, and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol.

The authors speculate that a prolonged period of fasting in the morning could affect ghrelin secretion which promotes increased food intake.  In addition, ghrelin could affect pancreatic insulin secretion.

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