Background: Among adults, skipping meals is associated with excess body weight, hypertension, insulin resistance, and elevated fasting lipid concentrations. However, it remains unknown whether specific eating habits regardless of dietary composition influence coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. The objective of this study was to prospectively examine eating habits and risk of CHD.
Methods and results: Eating habits, including breakfast eating, were assessed in 1992 in 26 902 American men 45 to 82 years of age from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer. During 16 years of follow-up, 1527 incident CHD cases were diagnosed. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals for CHD, adjusted for demographic, diet, lifestyle, and other CHD risk factors. Men who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of CHD compared with men who did not (relative risk, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.53). Compared with men who did not eat late at night, those who ate late at night had a 55% higher CHD risk (relative risk, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-2.29). These associations were mediated by body mass index, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus. No association was observed between eating frequency (times per day) and risk of CHD.
Conclusions: Eating breakfast was associated with significantly lower CHD risk in this cohort of male health professionals.
Keywords: coronary disease; epidemiology; myocardial infarction; nutritional sciences; prevention & control.