Adults with metabolic syndrome may have an increased chance of mental decline. Teens with the problem may perform more poorly on tests than those without. What is metabolic syndrome? It’s a “a set of health conditions linked with the development of heart disease and diabetes.”

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome a person has to have three of five specific health problems: a large waistline, resistance to insulin, high blood pressure, low levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), and high triglycerides — a type of fat in the blood.

Now researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have found a link between the breakfast habits of children and adult metabolic syndrome. Their findings of a study were published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Twenty-seven years ago, Swedish school children were asked questions about their breakfast habits. Those same school children, now well into adulthood, were recently checked for the risk factors of metabolic syndrome.

Those who, as children, had eaten no breakfast, or an insubstantial breakfast were found to be “68% more likely to have adulthood metabolic syndrome than their peers who ate substantial breakfasts.” The two highest risk factors they found in those who had symptoms were large waistlines and resistance to insulin.

Researchers say further study is required before they can “understand the mechanisms involved in the connection between poor breakfast and metabolic syndrome,” but their research suggests there is a link.

Considering the evidence that already exists that a good breakfast is important to health, this is just one more reason to make sure children get a healthy breakfast every day.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Kids' poor breakfast habits may lead to adult metabolic syndrome, study says
Researchers in Sweden found that children who skipped breakfast regularly had a significant increase in symptoms of metabolic syndrome as adults.