From the analysis within the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, after 16 years of follow-up, male health professionals who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), compared to those men who did not skip breakfast (relative risk, 1.27; 95% confidence interval 1.06-1.53). Moreover, those who regularly ate late at night had a 55% higher CHD risk (relative risk, 1.55; confidence interval 1.05-2.29) compared to those men who did not. The study found no association between eating frequency and risk of CHD.
Does this mean skipping breakfast or eating late at night is the cause for the increased CHD? Not necessarily. The data suggests that eating habits may affect CHD risk through more traditional risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity and dyslipidemia, or other factors.
Improving lifestyle habits may reduce CHD risk but it is unlikely that eating breakfast by itself (or avoiding eating late) would confer significant protection against heart disease. At this time, further study, including of women, is necessary.