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Interventions and public health nutrition

No breakfast at home: association with cardiovascular disease risk factors in childhood



Limited data exist regarding breakfast consumption and its association with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. This study investigates the relationship between breakfast routine and CVD risk factors in a multinational sample.


Cross-sectional data from eight European countries participating in the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) survey (2007–2008) were used. The sample included ;children 2 to <10 years of age (n=8863, 51.2% boys). The Mann–Whitney ;U-test and logistic regression were used to assess CVD risk factors ;among ;no breakfast (NBrH), occasional breakfast and daily breakfast at home (DBrH) consumption.


Male school-aged NBrH consumers, ;compared with ;DBrH consumers, ;were more likely to be overweight/obese (odds ratio (OR): 1.37, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.05–1.79), to have higher risk for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels lower than 40 mg/dl (OR: 1.69, 95% CI=1.24–2.30), triglycerides (TG) above 75 mg/dl (OR: 1.65, 95% CI=1.24–2.19) and sum of skinfolds greater than the 90th percentile (OR: 1.32, 95% CI=1.0–1.76). Female school-aged NBrH consumers ;compared with ;DBrH consumers ;had a higher risk for waist circumference greater than the 90th percentile (OR: 1.70, 95% CI=1.14–2.51), HDL cholesterol levels lower than 40 mg/dl (OR: 1.65, 95% CI=1.23–2.21), TG above 75 mg/dl (OR: 1.65, 95% CI=1.26–2.17) and total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio >3.5 (OR: 1.39, 95% CI=1.09–1.77). Results remained significant after adjusting for daily physical activity in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) periods (in min/day). Male DBrH consumers, 6 to <10 years of age, had longer daily periods of MVPA compared with ;NBrH consumers ;(32.0±21.4 vs 27.5±18.8, P<0.05). For preschoolers, breakfast consumption was negatively associated with ;CVD risk factors but results of regression models were mostly insignificant.


Daily breakfast consumption contributes to controlling school-aged children’s weight ;and lipid profile and promotes higher PA.

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This study was conducted as a part of the IDEFICS study and was published on behalf of its European Consortium ( We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the European Community within the Sixth RTD Framework Programme Contract no. 016181 (FOOD). We are also grateful for the support provided by school boards, headmasters, teachers, school staff and communities. We thank the IDEFICS children and their parents for participating in this extensive examination.

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Papoutsou, S., Briassoulis, G., Wolters, M. et al. No breakfast at home: association with cardiovascular disease risk factors in childhood. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 829–834 (2014).

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