LONDON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- University College London scientists have linked skipping breakfast to an increased risk of childhood obesity.
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, a research team discerned that not eating breakfast was a potential factor in excessive weight gain, along with mothers smoking during pregnancy and children not having a regular bedtime.
"This study shows that disrupted routines, exemplified by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and the consumption of energy-dense foods," lead researcher Yvonne Kelly said in a press release. "These findings support the need for intervention strategies aimed at multiple spheres of influence on BMI growth."
The team analyzed BMI trajectories using data collected from 16,936 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study. The subjects were between 3 and 11 years old. After the data was collected, researchers used regression models to estimate BMI trajectories.
Eighty-three percent of children in the study had a stable non-overweight BMI, while 13.1 percent were found to have moderate increasing BMIs and 2.5 had steadily growing BMI ratings. The smallest group measured, at 0.6 percent, had BMIs in the obese range.
While the team admits the study's results are not conclusive, it maintains the findings demonstrate potential negative influences on the development of a child's weight. Childhood obesity has also been linked to poorer mental health later in life, in addition to low self-esteem and risky behaviors such as cigarette smoking.