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What is the relationship between eating frequency and body weight in adults?

Conclusion

Evidence is insufficient to determine whether frequency of eating has an effect on overweight and obese in children and adult.

Grade

Limited

 

Evidence Summary Overview

The literature review identified one prospective cohort (van der Heijden, 2007). The study investigated the association between food patterns and long-term weight gain in US men over 10 years. An increased number of eating occasions in addition to three standard meals was associated with a higher risk of 5kg weight gain over time.

The Committee did not review the literature on the use of eating frequency as a tool for adults actively losing weight. 

Evidence Summary Paragraphs 

Cohort Studies (1) 

van der Heijden A et al, 2007 (positive quality) conducted a prospective cohort in the United States and investigated the association between breakfast consumption and long-term weight gain in adult men over a 10-year period. Subjects were participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Participants reported their weight on each biennial questionnaire and weight change was defined as the difference between weight reported in 1992 and 2002. Breakfast consumption and eating frequency (eating occasions per day) was assessed using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The final sample included 20,064 men. An increased number of eating occasions in addition to three standard meals was associated with a higher risk of 5kg weight gain (HR=1.15, 95% CI 1.06-1.25) for at least two vs. zero eating occasions (P<0.0001). The authors concluded that a greater frequency of eating occasions was associated with weight gain over time in men.



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Author, Year,
Study Design,
Class,
Rating
Participants/Location Methods Outcomes
van der Heijden AA, Hu FB et al, 2007 

Study Design: Sub-analysis of the Health Professional Follow-up Study, which was a prospective cohort study

Class: B 

Rating: Positive

N=20,064 men.

Location: United States.

 

Subjects were participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Participants reported their weight on each biennial questionnaire, and weight Δ was defined as the difference between weight reported in 1992 and 2002.

Breakfast consumption and eating frequency (eating occasions per day) was assessed using a semi-quantitative FFQ.

 

An ↑ number of eating occasions in addition to three standard meals was associated with a higher risk of 5kg weight gain (HR=1.15, 95% CI 1.06-1.25) for at least two vs. zero eating occasions (P<0.0001).

 

Research Design and Implementation
For a summary of the Research Design and Implementation results, click here.