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Breakfast linked to Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes for Children

Update Date: Sep 02, 2014 02:10 PM EDT

Many health experts have debated about whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In a new study, researchers examined the relationship between breakfast and risk factors for type 2 diabetes in children. They discovered that children who did not skip breakfast on most days had lower levels of risk factors for the chronic illness.

In this study, the team headed by Angela Donin of St. George's University of London, analyzed 4,116 primary school children in the United Kingdom who were between the ages of nine and 10. The researchers interviewed the children regarding what they ate and how often they ate breakfast. The team collected blood samples to test for risk markers of diabetes, which include fasting insulin, glucose, and glycated hemoglobin. 26 percent of the children did not eat breakfast at all.

The researchers found that children who did not eat breakfast had higher fasting insulin, higher insulin resistance, slightly higher glycated hemoglobin, and slightly higher glucose when compared to children who stated that they ate breakfast on a daily basis. These risk factors increase the children's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In another part of the study, children who ate breakfast were asked to participate in the 24-hour dietary recall where they had to report what they had for breakfast. Children who reported eating a high fiber cereal for breakfast had lower insulin resistance in comparison to children who ate biscuit-based breakfasts.

The researchers had accounted for many variables, such as socioeconomic status, physical activity and body fat. They added that they found a correlation and not a cause-and-effect relationship. However, if children are used to eating breakfast, they could benefit from eating a meal that is high in fiber.

"The observed associations suggest that regular breakfast consumption, particularly involving consumption of a high fiber cereal, could protect against the early development of type 2 diabetes risk," the authors stated according to the press release.

The study, "Regular Breakfast Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes Risk Markers in 9- to 10-Year-Old Children in the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE): A Cross-Sectional Analysis," was published in PLOS Medicine.

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