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Keywords:

  • night eating behavior;
  • obesity;
  • eating disorders;
  • depression;
  • 24-h food diary

Abstract

Objective:

There is an ongoing debate about the definitions and clinical significance of night eating syndrome (NES). This study explored potential subtypes based on night eating patterns and features reported to be associated, with NES in a representative community sample of 8,250 individuals aged 15–39 years.

Method:

Latent class analysis was used to identify NES subtypes among 2,068 participants who reported night eating behavior.

Results:

A four-class solution was judged best. Two classes appear to characterize individuals who eat very late or eat a large proportion of their daily intake after 7 pm, and two other classes are characterized by high rates of depressive symptoms. Results do not support an association between night eating and obesity in young adults. Late night eating is associated with high caloric intake, high sodium intake, and low protein intake.

Conclusion:

Evidence supports the validity of a definition of NES based on eating very late at night. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008