The role of energy intake and energy misreporting in the associations between eating patterns and adiposity

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Research examining associations between eating occasion (EO) frequency and adiposity is inconclusive; studies examining the impact of energy misreporting are rare. This study examined associations between eating patterns and adiposity, with adjustment for energy misreporting, in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.


Dietary intake was assessed via two 24-h recalls collected during the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (n = 4050 adults, aged ≥ 19 years). Frequencies of all EOs, meals and snacks were calculated. Height, weight and waist circumference (WC) were measured. Energy misreporting was assessed as the ratio of energy intake to predicted energy expenditure (EI:EE). Energy misreporters were identified by EI:EE ratios, < 0.68 or > 1.32. Multivariate regression models assessed associations between eating patterns and body mass index (BMI), WC, overweight/obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg m-2) and central overweight/obesity (WC ≥ 94 cm in men and ≥ 80 cm in women).


After adjustment for covariates and EI:EE, frequency of all EOs, meals (women only) and snacks was positively associated with WC and BMI (all P < 0.01). Snack, but not meal frequency, was also associated with overweight/obesity (men: OR = 1.22, 95% CI 1.07-1.39; women: OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.10-1.43) and central overweight/obesity (men: OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.04-1.32; women: OR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.06-1.37). Multivariate analysis that excluded energy misreporters and adjusted for EI yielded either null or inverse associations (P < 0.05).


These findings suggest that the associations between eating patterns and adiposity are complicated by the role of EI and energy misreporting. Longitudinal research that considers the impact of EI and energy misreporting is needed to better understand the relationship between eating patterns and obesity.

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