The connection, found in a study of 6,550 adults aged 65-75, was particularly strong for strokes.
Almost 60 per cent of the participants had breakfast every day, a quarter on some days, and 16 per cent rarely or never. All were free of heart disease at the start of the study. Over an average 17 years of follow-up, there were 2,318 deaths, including 619 from cardiovascular diseases.
People who never ate breakfast were more likely to be obese and have high cholesterol, but the observational study, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, controlled for these and many other health, behavioural and socioeconomic factors.