The Importance of Breakfast in Atherosclerosis Disease: Insights From the PESA Study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Oct 10;70(15):1833-1842. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.08.027.


Background: Daily habits, including the number and quality of eating occasions, are potential targets for primary prevention strategies with large health impacts. Skipping breakfast is considered a frequent and unhealthy habit associated with an increased cardiovascular (CV) risk.

Objectives: The study sought to explore the association between different breakfast patterns and CV risk factors and the presence, distribution, and extension of subclinical atherosclerosis.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis was performed within the PESA (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis) study, a prospective cohort of asymptomatic (free of CV events at baseline) adults 40 to 54 years of age. Lifestyle and multivascular imaging data along with clinical covariates were collected from 4,052 participants. Multivariate logistic regression models were used in the analysis.

Results: Three patterns of breakfast consumption were studied: high-energy breakfast, when contributing to >20% of total daily energy intake (27% of the population); low-energy breakfast, when contributing between 5% and 20% of total daily energy intake (70% of the population); and skipping breakfast, when consuming <5% of total daily energy (3% of the population). Independent of the presence of traditional and dietary CV risk factors, and compared with high-energy breakfast, habitual skipping breakfast was associated with a higher prevalence of noncoronary (odds ratio: 1.55; 95% confidence interval: 0.97 to 2.46) and generalized (odds ratio: 2.57; 95% confidence interval: 1.54 to 4.31) atherosclerosis.

Conclusion: Skipping breakfast is associated with an increased odds of prevalent noncoronary and generalized atherosclerosis independently of the presence of conventional CV risk factors. (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis [PESA]; NCT01410318).

Keywords: atherosclerosis; atherosclerotic plaque; coronary artery calcification; lifestyle; skipping breakfast.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asymptomatic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis* / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • Atherosclerosis* / psychology
  • Breakfast* / physiology
  • Breakfast* / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology

Associated data