Fewer meals led to higher BMI in teens.
Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April 2012 Volume 23, Number 2
©2012 Gürze Books
The old slogan “You are what you eat” might be amended to “You are what you eat, how fast you eat, and when you eat,” according to results of studies in New Zealand and the U.S.
New Zealand researchers conducted a nationwide population study to see if a relationship existed between self-reported speed of eating and body mass index among a nationally representative sample of New Zealand women (J Am Diet Assoc 2011; 111:1192).
In May 2009, 2,500 New Zealand women aged 40 to 50 years were randomly selected from the nationwide electoral rolls; 66% participated. Potential participants received a self-administered questionnaire by mail that contained questions on speed of eating, demographics, health conditions, menopausal status, regular physical activity levels, height, and weight. The nutritionists developed a multivariate model to investigate the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and BMI.
After adjusting for age, smoking status, menopausal status, thyroid condition, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical activity, the group found that for each category increase in self-reported speed of eating, BMI significantly increased by 2.8%. The results suggest that faster eating is associated with higher BMI in middle-aged women.
Less frequent meals tied to greater BMI in female teens
Little research has been done on the effects of eating frequency on adiposity. Dr. Lorrene D. Ritchie, director of research at the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley used data from 3-day diet records collected from 2,372 girls in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study, meals, snack and total eating frequencies (Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:290). She then compared the data from the first two 2 study years in relation to 10-year changes in BMI and waist circumference.
Dr. Ritchie found that eating frequency was lower in black and older girls than in white and younger girls. Among white girls, lower initial snack and total eating frequencies were related to greater 10-year increases in BMI. Among black teens, lower initial meal and snack frequencies were related to greater increases in BMI. Also, among blacks, lower initial total eating frequency was related to greater increases in waist circumference.
After adjusting for baseline adiposity measurement, race, parental education, physical activity, television and video viewing, total energy intake and dieting for weight loss, lower initial total eating frequency remained related to greater 10-year increases in BMI and waist circumference.