Skipping breakfast is a common dietary habit considered to be unhealthy. However, the mechanisms underlying skipping breakfast have not been fully explored. Leptin is a hormone that regulates food intake and energy storage and secretes in a diurnal rhythm with lowest levels in the morning. We examined the association between the serum leptin level and skipping breakfast in 5714 adults in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, 1988–1994. We defined breakfast as any food or beverage consumed between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. using a single 24-h recall. Skipped breakfast was seen in 13.1%. In the logistic regression models with and without adjusting for adiposity and sex, leptin levels were not associated with skipping breakfast. After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and time of venipuncture, the association remained insignificant. After further adjusting for potential confounders: physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking and diabetes and after further adjusting for: dietary factors, insulin and glucose levels, there was a 9% and 11%–12%, respectively, statistically significantly higher likelihood of skipping breakfast if the leptin level was more than 50% greater. Further investigation into the biological reasons for skipping breakfast may be useful for promoting healthy lifestyles.
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