Characterizing eating patterns: a comparison of eating occasion definitions

Leech, Rebecca M., Worsley, Anthony, Timperio, Anna and McNaughton, Sarah A. 2015, Characterizing eating patterns: a comparison of eating occasion definitions, American journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 102, no. 5, pp. 1229-1237, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114660.

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Title Characterizing eating patterns: a comparison of eating occasion definitions
Author(s) Leech, Rebecca M.ORCID iD for Leech, Rebecca M.
Worsley, AnthonyORCID iD for Worsley, Anthony
Timperio, AnnaORCID iD for Timperio, Anna
McNaughton, Sarah A.ORCID iD for McNaughton, Sarah A.
Journal name American journal of clinical nutrition
Volume number 102
Issue number 5
Start page 1229
End page 1237
Total pages 9
Publisher American Society for Nutrition
Place of publication Washington, D.C.
Publication date 2015-11
ISSN 1938-3207
Keyword(s) eating frequency
eating occasions
eating patterns
meal frequency
snack frequency
Summary BACKGROUND: To date, many approaches have been used to define eating occasions (EOs). A standard definition for EOs is required to facilitate further research. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we examined the influence of differing definitions of EOs on the characterization of eating patterns. DESIGN: Cross-sectional dietary data from two 24-h recalls collected during the 2011-12 Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (n = 5242 adults, aged ≥19 y) were analyzed. Eight definitions were applied: participant-identified, time-of-day, and 6 neutral definitions (individual EOs separated by different time intervals and/or an additional energy criterion of 210 kJ). Frequency of and total energy intake from meals, snacks, and all EOs were estimated, as appropriate. Differences were tested by using F tests, stratified by sex and age group. Agreement between different definitions of meal and snack frequencies was assessed by using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). For each definition, linear regression was used to estimate the proportion of variance in total energy intake (kJ) and amount of food intake (g) predicted by frequency of EOs and meals and snacks. RESULTS: Among both sexes and across all age groups, mean frequencies of meals differed between the participant-identified and time-of-day definitions (mean difference range = 0.1-0.3; P < 0.001). There were statistically significant differences between mean frequencies of EOs across the 6 neutral definitions (P < 0.001). There was good agreement for snacks (men: ICC = 0.89; women: ICC = 0.87) but not meal frequencies (men: ICC = 0.38; women: ICC = 0.36) between the participant-identified and time-of-day definitions. The neutral definition (15-min time interval plus energy criterion) best predicted variance in total energy intake (R(2) range = 19.3-27.8). CONCLUSIONS: Different approaches to the definition of EOs affect how eating patterns are characterized, with the neutral definition best predicting variance in total energy intake. Further research that examines how different EO definitions affect associations with health outcomes is needed to develop consensus on a standard EO definition.
Language eng
DOI 10.3945/ajcn.115.114660
Field of Research 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
11 Medical And Health Sciences
09 Engineering
Socio Economic Objective 920411 Nutrition
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, American Society for Nutrition
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