(NEW YORK) -- You've heard it a million times, but a new study gives a compelling new reason why people should enjoy a healthy meal to start their day: skipping breakfast can heighten the risk of heart attacks or fatal coronary heart disease, at least among men. According to lead researcher Leah E. Cahill of Harvard School of Public Health, "Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time."
Cahill and her team studied the dietary habits of 27,000 men ages 45 to 82 for 16 years and learned that those who don't eat breakfast on a regular basis were 27 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or death from coronary heart disease. The researchers also found that the health habits of breakfast-skippers were also suspect in that they were younger, single, more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, and weren't as physically active as men who partake in a morning repast.
As for why breakfast is so important, Cahill said when we sleep, the body creates increased levels of insulin, cholesterol and fatty acids when fasting as well as increased blood pressure, and "if we do not break fast in the morning, our body continues in this fasting state and we don't get the nutrients we need."
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