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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2018 Nov 20;15(1):115. doi: 10.1186/s12966-018-0752-7.

Association between breakfast composition and abdominal obesity in the Swiss adult population eating breakfast regularly.

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Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Route de la Corniche 10, 1010, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Ecole de Santé Publique, Centre de Recherche en Epidémiologie, Biostatistique et Recherche Clinique, Université libre de Bruxelles, Route de Lennik 808, 1070, Bruxelles, Belgium.
Risk Assessment Division, Nutrimonitoring Sector, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, 3003, Bern, Switzerland.
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Route de la Corniche 10, 1010, Lausanne, Switzerland.



Evidence from experimental and observational studies is limited regarding the most favorable breakfast composition to prevent abdominal fat accumulation. We explored the association between breakfast composition (a posteriori derived dietary patterns) and abdominal obesity among regular breakfast eaters from a Swiss population-based sample.


The cross-sectional survey assessed diet using two 24-h dietary recalls in a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18 to 75 years. We derived dietary patterns using principal component analysis based on the intake of 22 breakfast-specific food groups. All regular breakfast eaters were predicted an individual score for each identified pattern, and then classified into tertiles (T1, T2, T3). We defined abdominal obesity as waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) ≥ 0.9 in men and ≥ 0.85 in women. Logistic models were adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, relevant nutrition- and health-related behaviors, and diet quality during the rest of the day.


Of the 2019 included survey participants, 1351 (67%) were regular breakfast eaters. Among them, we identified three breakfast types: 1) 'traditional' - white bread, butter, sweet spread, 2) 'prudent' - fruit, unprocessed and unsweetened cereal flakes, nuts/seeds, yogurt, and 3) 'western' - processed breakfast cereals, and milk. The 'prudent' breakfast was negatively associated with abdominal obesity. After full adjustment, including diet quality during the rest of the day, the association was weaker (T3 vs. T1: OR 0.72, 95% CI: 0.47 to 1.08). People taking a 'prudent' breakfast (in T3) had 1.2% lower WHR compared to people taking a breakfast distant from 'prudent' (in T1) (P = 0.02, fully adjusted model with continuous log-WHR). We found no association between 'traditional' or 'western' breakfasts and WHR (OR 1.00, 95% CI: 0.67 to 1.50 and OR 1.16, 95% CI: 0.79 to 1.71, respectively). Findings were in the same directions for the three breakfast types when defining obesity with waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, or body mass index (≥ 30 kg/m2, for 'prudent' breakfast: OR 0.51, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.85).


Regular breakfast consumers had less abdominal obesity if their breakfast was composed of fruit, natural cereal flakes, nuts/seeds and yogurt. This association was partly explained by their healthier diet during the rest of the day.


ISRCTN16778734 .


Abdominal obesity; Breakfast; Dietary pattern; National nutrition survey; Swiss adults; Visceral fat; Waist circumference; Waist-to-height ratio; Waist-to-hip ratio; menuCH

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