Young people who skip breakfast and eat mid-morning snacks instead could be fuelling rising obesity rates, according to a new survey.
The study showed that nearly half of people aged 16-24 miss breakfast at least twice a week.
Cancer Research UK questioned 2,000 people on their breakfast habits, and found that 85% of under-25s questioned admitted tucking into snacks to keep mid-morning hunger at bay.
Professor Jane Wardle, from the charity's health behaviour research centre, said many people were ignorant of the fact that being overweight or obese increases the risk of certain types of cancer.
"We know obesity rates are rising in the UK and research has shown that this trend begins early in life," she said. "Children who are overweight or obese are likely to grow into obese adults whose risk of cancer and other diseases is increased because of the extra weight they are carrying.
"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. These habits can be hard to break."
Eating a nutritious breakfast can help people maintain a healthy diet by stopping them eating fatty, sugary snacks such as crisps, biscuits, cakes and sweets.
Overall, nearly a third of people surveyed said they missed breakfast at least twice a week, with 6% saying they never had breakfast at all.
More than a third said when they missed breakfast it was because of a lack of time.
Cancer Research UK carried out the survey to promote Britain's Biggest Breakfast, a nationwide event to raise funds for study into all types of cancer.
Amanda Hamilton, a TV presenter and nutritionist, said: "A healthy breakfast is important as part of a balanced diet and is an excellent way to start the day.
"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."