Children who skip one main meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner in lieu of chocolates or candies are more likely to have excess body fat that eventually increases the risk of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke, research has found.
“Based on the findings, sticking to regular meals seems to be crucial for preventing overweight and cardiometabolic diseases already in childhood,” said Aino-Maija Eloranta from University of Eastern Finland. Cardiometabolic risk means the chances of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
The survey studied 512 Finnish girls and boys aged six to eight years. The findings 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 remained their main 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.
The findings showed that children who skipped meals and ate more protein were more likely to have excess body fat.The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.