Your mother was right: Breakfast is good for your health.

Eating breakfast was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a study conducted at the University of Minnesota and published Monday in the journal Diabetes Care.

The study found that people who ate breakfast at least four days a week had "a significantly lower risk" of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other metabolic conditions than the abstainers.

Yet 43 percent of the study participants reported that they ate breakfast rarely if ever (zero to three days a week).

Just over a third, 35 percent, said they had breakfast seven days a week.

There was no word on whether the participants were eating doughnuts or yogurt for their morning meals.

"We didn't assess what people ate for breakfast — simply how often people ate breakfast," said Andrew Odegaard, who led the study at the university's School of Public Health.

But in general, people with healthier overall diets — lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains — had the lowest rates of diabetes, he said.

While there may be many reasons for the breakfast benefit, he said, previous studies have shown that people who skip breakfast "tend to consume more calories the rest of the day."

The researchers chose breakfast because it is typically the first meal people eat after sleeping, and its impact on the body's metabolism has received little attention, Odegaard said.

The study analyzed data from 3,598 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

Diabetes, which affects some 26 million Americans, is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness in the United States, and a major cause of heart disease, stroke and limb amputations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although his study didn't examine breakfast food per se, Odegaard still recommends eating a healthful meal.

His routine? Fruit and granola.

Ashley Griffin, a Kaiser health intern, contributed to this report.