Category: Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine - Adult
Irregular meal patterns have been linked with detrimental health outcomes in adolescents and young adults; however, one facet of meal patterns that has not been explored is the extent to which people eat meals at different times every day (i.e., mealtime inconsistency). The purpose of this study was to examine mealtime inconsistency in relation to eating pathology, weight, and body fat. Participants (n = 79 undergraduate students; Mage = 19.13) completed self-report questionnaires and physical measurements at baseline and three months later. At baseline, eating dinner at a more inconsistent time of the day was associated with higher weight status group (F(1,74) = 5.76, p = .02) and eating breakfast at a more inconsistent time of the day was associated with higher body dissatisfaction (r = .27, p = .03) and body fat at Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2) (rT1= .25, p = .04; rT2 = .28, p = .03). Weekday breakfasttime inconsistency was significantly higher than weekend breakfasttime inconsistency at T1 (t(68) = 2.17, p = .03) and marginally significant at T2 (t(63) = 2.00, p = .05). Notably, breakfasttime inconsistency during the week predicted changes in body fat over a three-month period (∆R2 = .01, F(1,58) = 4.69, p = .03). This study provides preliminary evidence that mealtime inconsistency may prospectively impact health and treatment outcomes and therefore warrants attention in future research.
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada