Skipping breakfast and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Asian and Pacific regions: a meta-analysis

Prev Med. 2011 Oct;53(4-5):260-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.08.030. Epub 2011 Aug 27.


Objective: In Western countries, skipping breakfast is associated with a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. This meta-analysis aimed to determine if the same relationship exists in Asian and Pacific regions.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed for observational studies using a cross-sectional design that examined the relationship between frequency of eating breakfast and overweight or obesity. Odds ratios (ORs) for overweight or obesity were pooled with a variance-based method.

Results: Nineteen studies (93,108 total participants and 19,270 overweight or obese cases) were included. The pooled OR [95% confidence intervals (CI)] of overweight or obesity for the lowest vs. highest category of breakfast frequency was 1.75 [1.57 to 1.95] (P<0.001). Between-study heterogeneity in the association's strength was highly significant (I-squared=36.4%, P<0.001), although a positive OR was shown in all but one included study. However, no study characteristics could be identified to explain the heterogeneity.

Conclusion: This meta-analysis suggests that a positive association between skipping breakfast and overweight and obesity is globally observed regardless of cultural diversity among countries. Promoting the eating of breakfast in all populations may be beneficial.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Pacific Islands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence