Skipping breakfast might increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

The connection, found in a study of 6,550 adults 65 to 75 years old, was particularly strong for stroke.

Almost 60% of the participants had breakfast every day, a quarter on some days, and 16% rarely or never.

All of the participants 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, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, controlled for these and many other health, behavioral and socioeconomic factors.

Compared with those who had breakfast every day, those who skipped the meal had an 87% increased risk for death from any cardiovascular disease and a 19% increased risk for all-cause death. Breakfast skippers had a 59% increased risk of developing heart disease, and more than triple the risk of stroke.

“Many studies have shown that skipping breakfast is related to a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension” and high cholesterol, said lead author Dr. Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa. “Our study suggests that eating breakfast could be a simple way to promote cardiovascular health.”