Topical Area: Obesity, Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism
Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is a disordered eating pattern characterized by nighttime hyperphagia. Previous research suggests that nighttime eating, especially in individuals with NES, is associated with obesity and higher intake of energy, sodium, saturated fat, and processed foods. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of nighttime eating on diet quality and weight status in adult females.
An online survey was administered to 516 women (age 18-65) from July 2018 thru January 2019. The survey included the validated Night Eating Questionnaire and the National Cancer Institute Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ) II. Diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015. The Diet*Calc program analyzed the DHQ II output to generate estimates of nutrient and food group intake. NCI SAS macros were used to calculate the HEI 2015 component and total scores. IBM SPSS Statistics (version 25) was used to run descriptive statistics and inferential statistics (chi-square tests, independent samples t-tests).
Results : Of the 516 women, 36 were classified as night eaters and 480 were classified as non-night eaters. The majority of participants were employed (70.3%) and highly educated (95.1% reported some college or higher). Night eaters worked night shifts more often than non-night eaters (P ≤ 0.001). Mean HEI scores were lower in night eaters (58.6 ± 11.1) than in non-night eaters (64.9 ± 9.8) (P ≤ 0.001). There was no difference between the two groups (night eaters, non-night eaters) for BMI; the mean BMI for all participants was 24.1.7 ± 5.5 kg/m2. However, a higher proportion of night eaters than expected were underweight and obese (P ≤ 0.001). There was also an association between nighttime eating and history of eating disorder diagnosis (P ≤ 0.001).
These findings are consistent with previous research suggesting that nighttime eating is associated with reduced diet quality, unhealthy weight status, and disordered eating. Further research should be directed at understanding hormonal responses to nighttime eating and its affect on weight status and dietary choices.
Funding Sources : None