Experts found making lunch and dinner more calorie-dense had an impact on weight years later.
They looked at a sample of 1961 children and analysed three-day food diaries at age four, before examining weight at age seven.
Factors that could affect the results, such as a mother’s age and education, were considered.
Researchers concluded that “having a relatively higher energy intake at lunch and supper, or at mid-afternoon, at four years old was associated with higher odds of developing overweight/obesity at seven years old”.
A relatively higher intake of fat at lunch also increased the risk of a child being overweight or obese at the age of seven by 17%.
The team warned that skipping breakfast and eating later in the day could have a detrimental effect on children’s body weight.
Researchers from the University of Porto in Portugal presented their data, at the European Congress on Obesity, in Glasgow.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “While this information is important for good child health, so too is a balanced diet and regular exercise.”Daily Mail