Skipping meals increases children's obesity and cardiometabolic risk

December 15, 2014

Children who skip main meals are more likely to have excess body fat and an increased cardiometabolic risk already at the age of 6 to 8 years, according to a Finnish study. A higher consumption of sugary drinks, red meat and low-fat margarine and a lower consumption of vegetable oil are also related to a higher cardiometabolic risk. "The more of these factors are present, the higher the risk," says Ms Aino-Maija Eloranta, MHSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis at the University of Eastern Finland.

The dietary habits, eating behaviour and dietary determinants of excess body adiposity and cardiometabolic risk were investigated in a population sample of 512 Finnish girls and boys 6 to 8 years of age participating in the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study. Cardiometabolic risk was assessed by a continuous metabolic risk score computed using Z-scores of waist circumference, fasting serum insulin, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the mean of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Children who skipped meals and ate more protein were more likely to have excess body fat. Uncontrolled eating behaviour, such as eating fast, emotional overeating and a lower satiety responsiveness were also associated with higher body adiposity.

The study also showed that most children's diet was far from ideal. Less than half of the children ate all three main meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - every day. Instead, snacks were a major source of energy and sucrose. A minority of the children consumed vegetables, fruit and berries as recommended. As many as a quarter of the children consumed sugary drinks daily. The intakes of saturated fat, sucrose and salt were higher and the intakes of dietary fibre, vitamin D and iron were lower than recommended among the children.

"Based on the findings, sticking to regular meals seems to be crucial for preventing overweight and cardiometabolic diseases already in childhood," Ms Eloranta says. In addition, parents need to provide their children with better dietary choices: regular-fat vegetable-oil margarines and vegetable oils instead of low-fat margarines, fat-free milk and water instead of sugary drinks, and more fish instead of red meat at meals.

The results were originally published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, International Journal of Obesity and European Journal of Nutrition.
-end-
For further information, please contact:

Aino-Maija Eloranta, MHSc, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Biomedicine, +358 50 5344255, aino-maija.eloranta(at)uef.fi

University of Eastern Finland

Related Nutrition Articles from Brightsurf:

Here's how to improve packaged foods nutrition
FOP nutrition labeling results in a significant improvement in the nutritional quality of food products.

'Front of package' nutrition labels improved nutrition quality
A new study analyzing 16 years of data on tens of thousands of products finds that the adoption of nutrition data on ''front of package'' labels is associated with improved nutritional content of those foods and their competitors.

Aquaculture's role in nutrition in the COVID-19 era
A new paper from American University examines the economics of an aquaculture industry of the future that is simultaneously environmentally sustainable and nutritious for the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who depend on it.

Fathers are more likely to be referred for nutrition or exercise counseling
Fatherhood status has been linked to medical providers' weight-related practices or counseling referrals.

Refugee children get better health, nutrition via e-vouchers
Electronic food vouchers provided young Rohingya children in Bangladeshi refugee camps with better health and nutrition than direct food assistance, according to new research led by Cornell University, in conjunction with the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Leaders call for 'Moonshot' on nutrition research
Leading nutrition and food policy experts outline a bold case for strengthening federal nutrition research in a live interactive session as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Featured research from NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE
Press materials are now available for NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a dynamic virtual event showcasing new research findings and timely discussions on food and nutrition.

Diet, nutrition have profound effects on gut microbiome
A new literature review from scientists at George Washington University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggests that nutrition and diet have a profound impact on the microbial composition of the gut.

Are women getting adequate nutrition during preconception and pregnancy?
In a Maternal & Child Nutrition analysis of published studies on the dietary habits of women who were trying to conceive or were pregnant, most studies indicated that women do not meet nutritional recommendations for vegetable, cereal grain, or folate intake.

Supermarkets and child nutrition in Africa
Hunger and undernutrition are widespread problems in Africa. At the same time, overweight, obesity, and related chronic diseases are also on the rise.

Read More: Nutrition News and Nutrition Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.