By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Did you have breakfast this morning? A new study highlights the importance of eating breakfast every day.

The risk of heart-related death increases dramatically for people who don’t eat in the morning, according to the new research. Doctors say it’s an issue, because over the past 50 years, the number of people who skip breakfast has been increasing, especially among younger people.

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Whether it’s cereal or eggs, eating breakfast could save your life. The new research that tracked 6,500 Americans for about 20 years found people who routinely skip breakfast had an 87% higher risk of cardiovascular-related death compared to those who ate breakfast every day.

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Not eating a morning meal is also linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

“What they found, was that the more people skipped breakfast the more days a week, the higher their risk of Type 2 diabetes,” wellness expert Dr. Michael Roizen said.

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Researchers found that just one day of skipping breakfast was associated with a 6% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says the odds for a stroke were especially elevated if people always skipped breakfast. In terms of morning selections, experts say you should load up.

People should think of breakfast as the new dinner — the meal with the most calories, in order to avoid a spike in blood sugar later in the day.

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“Eat only when the sun is out or when the sun is supposed to be out,” Roizen said. “Eat more early, eat less later, and don’t stereotype food. You can eat dinner food for breakfast.”

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Doctors say part of the problem linked to skipping breakfast is that people tend to get hungrier later in the day, which might lead to overeating. Researchers say people who skip breakfast also tend to have more unhealthy habits and are more likely to smoke, drink and be physically inactive.

Stephanie Stahl