Globally, increasing rates of obesity are one of the most important health issues. The association between breakfast skipping and body weight is contradictory between cross-sectional and interventional studies. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to summarize this association based on observational longitudinal studies. We included prospective studies on breakfast skipping and overweight/obesity or weight change in adults. The literature was searched until September 2020 in PubMed and Web of Science. Summary risk ratios (RRs) or β coefficients with a 95% confidence interval (CI), respectively, were estimated in pairwise meta-analyses by applying a random-effects model. In total, nine studies were included in the systematic review and five of them were included in the meta-analyses. The meta-analyses indicated an 11% increased RR for overweight/obesity when breakfast was skipped on ≥3 days per week compared to ≤2 days per week (95% CI: 1.04, 1.19, n = two studies). The meta-analysis on body mass index (BMI) change displayed no difference between breakfast skipping and eating (β = -0.02; 95% CI: -0.05, 0.01; n = two studies). This study provides minimal evidence that breakfast skipping might lead to weight gain and the onset of overweight and obesity.
Keywords: Body Mass Index (BMI) change; breakfast skipping; meta-analysis; obesity; observational longitudinal studies; overweight; systematic review; weight gain.