The researchers found that young people who skip breakfast are more likely to gain weight than those who do not. They also found that teens who miss the first meal of the day have longer waist length compared to those who eat breakfast.
Researchers linked to the Medical School at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil and colleagues at European institutions suspect that skipping breakfast can lead to unbalanced diet and other unhealthy habits that increase the likelihood of weight gain.
They explored this hypothesis and realized that skipping breakfast – a common habit in teenagers – was directly related to increased waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).
We realized that skipping breakfast is associated with adherence markers in adolescents, no matter where they live and how much they are sleeping, or whether they are male or female. "
Elsie Costa de Oliveira Forkert, an epidemiologist and member of the Group for Cardiovascular and Environmental Research for Young / Children
Forkert believes that the reason for this association is that children and adolescents who skip breakfast are more likely to replace a relatively healthy meal made from home-made products, whole grains and fruits with fast foods from places on the road to or from school.
"This usually involves consuming low-nutritional value foods such as deep-fried snacks, cakes, soda and other sugar beverages that are directly related to the development of obesity," she says.
The study analyzed data derived from large cohort studies held in Brazil and in European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain.
The data for the European study emerged from a study called "Healthy Living Style in Europe through Nutrition in Adolescence", which included 3,528 male and female children from minors in ten major cities, aged 12.5 to 17.5 years. The participants were stratified by age, sex, socioeconomic status and religion.
The Brazilian group's data is derived from a study titled "Brazilian Cardiovascular Health of Adolescents", which involved 991 teenagers, aged 14 to 18 years. Because childhood obesity can contribute to the early development of health problems such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, these teens have been evaluated for cardiovascular risk factors and health-related behaviors.
Chief Researcher Augusto Cesar Ferreira De Moras (University of Sao Paulo) and his colleagues analyzed the weight, height and weight of teenagers (BMI) as indicators of overall obesity and the use of waist circumference and the relationship between waist and height as measures of abdominal obesity .
Energy balance-related behavior was assessed using data from the questionnaire for levels of physical activity, with 60 plus minutes of moderate-energy exercises considered appropriate and less than those considered to be insufficient.
Sedentary behavior was considered in terms of time spent on computers, video games or watching TV, and the participants were questioned about how long they slept during the week and weekends.
Attitudes towards choosing food, healthy eating and lifestyle were assessed with the help of a research that included a specific breakfast question where teens were asked to agree or disagree on a scale of 1 to 7 with the statement "Often skipping breakfast" .
Skipping a breakfast was associated with a larger waist
As reported in the magazine Scientific reports, researchers found that out of all the analyzed behavior related to the energy balance, the strongest correlation was between the lack of the first meal of the day and the levels of markers for obesity.
The results of the two polls showed that boys who missed breakfast increased their waist circumference, compared to boys who ate breakfast.
"For boys who skipped breakfast, the average waist circumference was greater than 2.61 cm in Europe and 2.13 cm higher in Brazil than in boys who usually ate breakfast," says Forkert. The same goes for European girls, who had an average waist circumference, which increased by 1.97 centimeters and an average half-height ratio, which is 0.02 more.
On the other hand, when researchers analyzed the relationship between sleep time and obesity markers, they found that average BMI for boys who skipped breakfast was 1.29 kg / m² in European boys and 1.69 kg / m² higher among Brazilian boys, even when they they got enough sleep.
Among European and Brazilian boys, skipping breakfast was energy-related behavior that most closely related to obesity indicators, such as increased BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio.
According to Forkert, this also applies to European girls: "Skipping breakfast is correlated positively with total and abdominal obesity, even when sleeping is appropriate."
In the Brazilian group, sedentary behavior was more common in girls than in boys, while in the European group, such behaviors were more common in boys.
Among European girls, sedentary behavior that lasted more than two hours per day was associated with an average increase in the waist circumference of 1.20 cm, even when sleep was considered sufficient
Among the Brazilian boys, sleep less than eight hours a day had a protective effect against total thickness, which fell by an average of 0.93 kg / m².
Forkert says teens with multiple sedentary behaviors that watch more TVs, use computers more or play more video games, probably have an unbalanced diet and eat unhealthy foods, although such behaviors have not been evaluated in the current study.
"Sedentary behavior associated with relatively high calorie consumption leads directly to obesity," she notes.
Reference in the newspaper:
Forkert, E. C. O., et al. (2019). Skipping breakfast is associated with adhesion markers, especially when sleeping time is adequate in adolescents. Scientific reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-42859-7