BOSTON — Eating breakfast was associated with significantly lower coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in a study involving the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and appearing on-line July 23 in Circulation, which is published by the American Heart Association. Men in the study who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of CHD than men who did not skip breakfast.

In the study, eating habits were assessed in 1992 in 26,902 American men from the ages of 45 to 82 in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which is a study of male health professionals such as dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, optometrists, osteopaths and podiatrists. The men in 1992 were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer. During 16 years of follow-up, 1,527 incident CHD disease cases were diagnosed. Adjustments were made for demographic, diet, lifestyle and other CHD risk factors.

The study pointed out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends children eat breakfast but has no such recommendation for adults. Besides the breakfast results, the study also found men who ate late at night had a 55% higher CHD risk. The study found no association between how many times the men ate per day and CHD risk.

The Institutional Review Board of the Harvard School of Public Health approved the study. Grants from the National Institutes of Health helped to fund the study as did a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship to Dr. Leah Cahill, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.