Breakfast Size is Related to Body Mass Index for Men, but not Women

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At the time of writing Lillian Kent was affiliated with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of self-reported breakfast size, daily eating, and other health habits on body mass index (BMI). We hypothesized that a consumption of a substantial breakfast compared with skipping or small breakfasts would be associated with lower BMI. Three independent, cross-sectional, screening surveys were conducted by Sydney Adventist Hospital in 1976, 1986, and 2005 in the surrounding community. The archived survey forms of 384 men and 338 women in 1976, 244 men and 229 women in 1986, and 270 men and 62 women in 2005 were randomly selected. Body mass index was determined from height and weight measured by hospital staff. The reported amount consumed at breakfast was one of several eating habits that predicted BMI for men but not women. It explained 5% to 6% of the variance in male BMI in all 3 years examined. As the reported breakfast amount increased, men's BMI decreased. Lifestyle confounders including vegetarianism and physical activity did not affect this relationship. However, the consumption of breakfast was significantly positively associated with consumption of cereals, bread, fruit, and spreads, while coffee consumption was significantly associated with smaller breakfasts or breakfast skipping. The consumption of relatively large breakfasts may influence BMI in men, and its promotion may help reduce the prevalence of obesity in Australia and elsewhere.

survey; dietary practice, breakfast, BMI, lifestyle

Kent, L. M., & Worsley, A. (2010). Breakfast size is related to body mass index for men, but not women. Nutrition Research, 30(4), 240-245. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.03.006

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