Skipping breakfast increases risk of brain hemorrhage by 36%, say researchers


People who skip breakfast five or more days a week have a 36 percent higher chance of suffering a brain hemorrhage than those who eat it every day, a group of Japanese researchers has found.

While higher risks of obesity and hypertension from skipping breakfast have already been documented, the Japanese team claims to be the world’s first to confirm that such dietary behavior leads to a higher risk of brain hemorrhage.

The study tracked a total of 82,772 people aged 45 to 74 in eight prefectures from 1985 to 2010.

Of those, 1,051 people experienced a brain hemorrhage. The incidence of brain hemorrhage increased as subjects skipped breakfast more frequently.

“Without breakfast, blood pressure in the morning tends to be higher,” said Osaka University professor Hiroyasu Iso, who led the research team.

The researchers, including at the National Cancer Center, found no significant difference in incidences of brain infarction, another type of stroke. The result is “probably because the contribution of high blood pressure to brain infarction is smaller than that to brain hemorrhage,” Iso explained.

Unlike earlier reports in Europe and the United States, the research in Japan did not confirm any clear link between skipping breakfast and the risk of a heart attack. The result may be attributed to a lower obesity rate in Japan, according to the team.

  • Charles

    What’s the direction of causality?

    Does skipping breakfast really cause the probability of a brain hemorrhage to increase?

    Or is it just that people with high-stress lifestyles are more prone to have brain hemorrhages, and also more prone to skip breakfast?

    In other words, which one, A or B?
    A) Skipping breakfast->Brain hemorrhage
    B) High-stress lifestyle->Brain hemorrhage
    High-stress lifestyle->Skipping breakfast