Nutritional aspects of night eating and its association with weight status among Korean adolescents

  • Hernandez, Emely (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Meeyoung (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Won Gyoung (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University) ;
  • Yoon, Jihyun (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2015.05.19
  • Accepted : 2016.02.01
  • Published : 2016.08.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A growing body of research has indicated that night eating could be associated with poor diet quality and negative health outcomes. This study examined the nutritional aspects of night eating, its related factors, and the association between night eating and body weight among Korean adolescents. SUBJECTS/METHODS: This study analysed the data from a one day 24-hour dietary recall as well as a demographic survey of 1,738 Korean adolescents aged 12 to 18-years-old obtained from the 2010-2012 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 'Night eating' was defined as consuming 25% or more of one's daily energy intake between 21:00 and 06:00. Subjects complying with the preceding condition were classified as 'night eaters', whereas the rest were considered 'non-night eaters'. Logistic regression analysis examined factors related to night eating. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between night eating and BMI z-scores, whereas multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between night eating and weight status. RESULTS: About 21% of Korean adolescents appeared to be night eaters. Night eaters showed increased breakfast skipping (P = 0.001), higher energy intake from snacks (P < 0.001), greater proportion of energy intake from fat (P = 0.029), and lower Dietary Diversity Scores (P = 0.008) than non-night eaters. Male adolescents presented 1.9 times higher odds of being night eaters than females. Adolescents whose both parents were night eaters were 4.4 times as likely to be night eaters as those whose neither parents were. Female adolescents showed a significant relationship between night eating and BMI z-scores (${\beta}=0.28$, P = 0.004). However, night eating did not increase odds of being overweight or obese in adolescents. CONCLUSIONS: Night eating in Korean adolescents was related to undesirable dietary behaviours and low diet quality in general as well as higher BMI z-scores in females. Male gender and parental night eating appeared to be the factors that significantly increased odds of night eating. These results suggest that night eating should be considered when designing nutrition education or intervention programs targeting adolescents.


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