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Skipping breakfast raises stroke risks: researchers

People who skip breakfast have a higher risk of suffering a stroke, a survey released by researchers at the National Cancer Center and Osaka University on Feb. 4 has shown.

    Researchers attributed the tendency to a large spike in blood pressure in the morning as a result of missing breakfast. While it has been pointed out that not having breakfast could trigger obesity and other symptoms, it is reportedly the first time that breakfast-free habits were confirmed to raise stroke risks.

    The researchers conducted questionnaires about lifestyle habits on people in the country in 1995 and 1998. About 80,000 people aged between 45 and 74 from eight prefectures responded to the survey, and researchers divided them into four groups based on the frequency of having breakfast in a week. The researchers then tracked down the respondents up until 2010 to see the relationship between breakfast habits and cerebral strokes -- including cerebral hemorrhage and infarction -- and ischemic heart disease.

    As a result, it emerged that the group of people who skip breakfast or eat breakfast only once or twice a week is subject to 1.18 times a higher risk of developing strokes compared to the group of those who have breakfast every morning. Furthermore, the risks for developing cerebral hemorrhage were even 1.36 times higher.

    Meanwhile, researchers found no connection between the breakfast habits and symptoms including cerebral infarction, subarachnoid hemorrhage and ischemic heart disease.

    High blood pressure is one of the main causes of cerebral hemorrhage. Blood pressure rises when one wakes up in the morning, and it spikes even higher if the person skips breakfast and feels a sense of hunger and other stress, according to previous research results quoted by the researchers.

    Osaka University professor Hiroyasu Iso, who is specialized in public health, said, "There is data that children lack in concentration if they miss breakfast, affecting their school grades. Adults, too, had better eat breakfast every morning to prevent lifestyle diseases."

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