The objective was to investigate whether irregular eating of meals in adolescence predicts the metabolic syndrome and its components in adulthood, and if any specific meal is of particular importance.
Prospective cohort study with 27 years of follow-up. Information on meals (breakfast, school lunch and dinner with family), lifestyle (alcohol consumption, smoking habits, physical activity, consumption of sweets and pastries) at age 16 years was assessed from questionnaires, and presence or not of the metabolic syndrome and its components were defined at age 43 years in 889 participants (82·1% of total cohort). Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and confidence intervals.
The Northern Swedish Cohort; all school-leavers of the 9th grade in the town Luleå in 1981.
Adolescents (age 16 years).
Irregular eating of meals at age 16 years was associated with higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years (OR=1·74; 95% CI 1·12, 2·71), but this was explained by concurrent unhealthy lifestyle at age 16 years. Poor breakfast at age 16 years was the only meal associated with the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years, independent of other meals, BMI (kg/m2) and lifestyle at age 16 years (OR=1·67; 95% CI 1·00, 2·80).
Irregular eating of meals in adolescence predicted the metabolic syndrome in adulthood, but not independently of BMI and lifestyle in adolescence. Poor breakfast in adolescence was the only specific meal associated with future metabolic syndrome, even after adjustments. Breakfast eating should be encouraged in adolescence.