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Association between skipping breakfast in parents and children and childhood overweight/obesity among children: a nationwide 10.5-year prospective study in Japan



The longitudinal association between skipping breakfast in parents and their children, and the subsequent risk of childhood overweight/obesity is unknown, especially in children under 10 years of age. We therefore aimed to prospectively assess the association between parents who skip their breakfast and the risk of children skipping their breakfast, as well as the risk of childhood overweight/obesity in children who skip their breakfast, using a10.5-year follow-up data on nationality representative samples.


A total of 43, 663 children aged 1.5 years in 2002 were followed until 12 years of age. An overweight body mass index (BMI), including obesity, was defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2, according to the International Obesity Task Force cut-off points for children. Associations between parents, when children were 1.5 years of age, and children (2.5–12 years of age) skipping breakfast, as well as childhood overweight/obesity were calculated using logistic regression models.


Of the 42 663 children included, 12 and 32% of their mothers and fathers usually skipped breakfast when the child was 1.5 years of age, respectively. Children whose mothers or fathers skipped breakfast were more likely to skip breakfast, than those whose parents ate breakfast for all ages: the range of multivariable odds ratios (ORs) was 1.90 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.56-2.31) to 2.98 (95% CI 2.28-3.90) among mothers and 1.42 (95% CI 1.33-1.51) to 2.43 (95% CI 1.90-3.11) among fathers. When both parents skipped breakfast, the strongest association was observed. Compared to children who did not skip breakfast, children who skipped breakfast had 18–116% increased risk of overweight/obesity; the multivariable ORs were 1.18 (95% CI 1.05-1.32) and 2.16 (95% CI 1.55-2.99), respectively.


There was a significant association between skipping breakfast in parents and children. Children who skipped breakfast had significantly increased risk of childhood overweight/obesity.

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This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grants (15K19256). The funding sources had no role in the design and conduct of the study; in the analysis and interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review, or approval of the final manuscript.

Author contributions

The authors’ responsibilities were as follows: CO devised the study hypothesis; CO and TT analyzed the data; CO wrote the first draft; TT and HI made critical revisions. All authors were involved in interpretation of the result and revision of the manuscript and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hiroyasu Iso.

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Okada, C., Tabuchi, T. & Iso, H. Association between skipping breakfast in parents and children and childhood overweight/obesity among children: a nationwide 10.5-year prospective study in Japan. Int J Obes 42, 1724–1732 (2018).

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