Breakfast skipping, nutritional status, and physical activity in a middle-aged population
Introduction: the failure to eat breakfast has been associated with weight gain, a lower level of physical activity, and poor diet quality. Objective: to examine the frequency of skipping breakfast in an Ecuadorian population and its association with nutritional status and level of physical activity. Methods: a cross-sectional study of individuals who reported breakfast omission in a national survey. Nutritional status and physical activity were evaluated through anthropometric measures and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, respectively. Results: the mean age of the study sample was 34.2 ± 14 years, 40% were aged 20 to 34 years, one half were women, 55% were living in the coastal region, and one half were classified as low socioeconomic status. Overall, 6.6% of participants did not mention breakfast in both recalls. Individuals who skipped breakfast were more likely to be aged 20 to 34 years (42.6% vs. 37.4%) and from the coastal region (61.1% vs. 51.8%) than those who ate breakfast. We did not find an association between skipping breakfast and being overweight or obese (35.2% vs. 36.1%), nor achieving a low level of physical activity (28.6% vs. 29.8%). In addition, breakfast consumers (vs. non-consumers) had higher intake of total energy, macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat, and sugar), and micronutrients (fiber and calcium). Conclusions: in Ecuador, ~ 7% of the population skips breakfast. The nutritional status and level of physical activity did not differ between those who ate breakfast and those who did not. However, the long-term health consequences should be avoided by changing this eating habit.