220773 Does how often you eat matter? Eating frequency and obesity in a longitudinal cohort of adolescent Black and White girls

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Phil Spector, PhD , Dr. Robert C. & Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Pat Crawford, DrPH, RD , Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Few studies have investigated the relationship between eating frequency and obesity. We used dietary 3-day dietary record data collected nearly annually from 1,213 black and 1,166 white girls in the 10-year NHLBI Growth and Health Study to examine number and distribution of total eating episodes, meals, and snacks. We observed a great deal of variability in frequency of eating, with a daily mean of 4.23 1.07 total eating episodes, 2.570.26 meals, and 1.671.05 snacks across the 10 years of study. Eating frequency was lower in older vs. younger girls, lower in black vs. white girls, and lower on weekends vs. weekdays. Eating more frequently was related to higher intakes of calories and other nutrients. However, when adjusted for calorie intake, white girls with a higher eating frequency had significantly lower intakes of fat, saturated fat and sodium, and higher intakes of fiber. For black girls the results were more variable depending on how eating frequency was quantified. Consistently for both races and across all age groups, a greater eating frequency was associated with a lower BMI and waist circumference in cross-sectional comparisons. Prospectively, although relationships were attenuated, a greater eating frequency was predictive of less gain in adiposity. Our findings suggest that eating more frequently is associated with less risk of excessive weight gain. This presentation will examine the paradoxical role of eating frequency as both a causal and a mediating factor in children's weight gain.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the current state of research on eating frequency in relation to obesity. 2. Discuss how eating frequency (total eating episodes, meals and snacks) varies by age, race, and day of the week in adolescent girls. 3. Compare the relationship between eating frequency and both nutrient intakes and adiposity outcomes for black and white adolescent girls.

Keywords: Adolescents, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI for the research study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.