Thousands of people in Northern Ireland are increasing their long-term risk of cancer and obesity by skipping breakfast and turning to sugary and fatty snacks instead.
That was the warning from Cancer Research UK who believe that missing the most important meal of the day could be fuelling rising obesity rates.
A new survey commissioned by the leading charity found that 25% of people in Northern Ireland miss breakfast at least twice a week. It found that nearly half of respondents (48%) admitted to snacking on fatty and sugary foods such as crisps, biscuits, cakes and sweets to keep morning hunger at bay.
Experts estimate that about a quarter of all cancer deaths are caused by unhealthy diets and obesity.
Professor Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK's health behaviour research centre, said there is still "widespread ignorance that being overweight or obese increases the risk of a number of cancers".
"We know obesity rates are rising in the UK and research has shown that this trend begins early in life," she said.
"This survey reflects the worrying trend that too many young people miss breakfast only to resort to sugary and fatty snacks when they get hungry."
Cancer Research UK carried out the survey of over 2,000 people to promote its Britain's Biggest Breakfast fundraising drive - now in its tenth year.
The charity is calling on people across the UK to throw a breakfast 'party' to raise money for research into all types of cancer.
The event aims to show people how eating a healthy breakfast, as part of a balanced diet can help reduce your risk of cancer.
Television presenter and nutrionist Amanda Hamilton said: "This campaign is a great way of showing both parents and kids that healthy eating isn't boring and hopefully it will encourage families to all sit down and eat breakfast together."
But there is some good news about our breakfast habits.
Only 4% of people opt for the traditional cooked breakfast. Instead, more than half, 66% opt for cereal or porridge.
And only 2% said they never eat breakfast.
To find out more about how to get involved, visit cancerresearchuk.org/breakfast.