A high eating frequency is associated with an overall healthy lifestyle in middle-aged men and women and reduced likelihood of general and central obesity in men.
Summary, in English
The role of eating frequency in obesity development is debated. Therefore, we investigated the association between eating frequency, BMI and waist circumference (WC), as well as how eating frequency is related to diet composition and lifestyle factors. A subsample (aged 47-68 years) of men (n 1355) and women (n 1654) from the Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort was used for the present cross-sectional study. The daily eating frequency was calculated based on the number of self-reported eating occasions during an ordinary day. Regression analysis and ANOVA examined the associations between eating frequency, BMI and WC, while adjusting for potential confounders. The energy percentage (E%) from carbohydrates as well as relative fibre intake (g/MJ) increased with higher eating frequency; while E% from fat, protein and alcohol decreased. A low daily eating frequency was associated with smoking, higher alcohol consumption, and lower leisure-time physical activity. Eating three or fewer meals per d was also associated with increased likelihood of general and central obesity in men when adjusting for total energy intake, lifestyle and dietary factors. However, results did not reach statistical significance among women. The present study suggests that a high daily eating frequency is associated with a healthy lifestyle and dietary pattern in both men and women, and a reduced likelihood of general and central obesity in men. There is a need for prospective studies investigating the association between eating frequency, diet and body composition.