Eveningness is associated with skipping breakfast and poor nutritional intake in Brazilian undergraduate students.

Research paper by Gabriela Pereira GP Teixeira, Maria Carliana MC Mota, Cibele Aparecida CA Crispim

Indexed on: 09 Dec '17Published on: 09 Dec '17Published in: Chronobiology international


Some studies have proposed that self-reported eveningness, which reflects the preference of performing activities in the evening, may harm nutritional health and influence the eating behavior and nutritional status of individuals. However, the relationship between these variables (eveningness and nutritional status) and the consumption of breakfast, which is currently considered a marker of health, has been insufficiently explored by studies. The aim of this study was to investigate, in undergraduate students, the association between diurnal preference, being overweight, and food consumption (with special focus on breakfast). The study included 721 undergraduate students from a Brazilian public university. Dietary intake was assessed by 24-hour food recall, and the usual time for breakfast was identified. Body weight, height, and waist circumference were measured by trained researchers. Diurnal preference was determined by the Horne and Ostberg questionnaire validated for the Brazilian population, and the participants were classified into three categories: evening (coefficient: 16-41), intermediate type (coefficient: 42-58) or morning type (coefficient: 59-86). The prevalence of skipping breakfast was higher among the evening types (p = 0.02), when compared with morning and intermediate types. A negative association between the diurnal preference coefficient and total caloric (coefficient -0.25, p = 0.007, r2 adjusted = 0.12), carbohydrate (coefficient -0.19, p = -0.04, r2 adjusted = 0.04) and lipid intake (coefficient -0.18, p = 0.04, r2 adjusted = 0.05) was also found in the breakfast skippers but not in breakfast eaters. In other words, breakfast skippers with diurnal preference values indicative of eveningness consumed more calories, carbohydrates and fats. Evening types presented significant odds of skipping breakfast (OR = 1.7, CI = 1.1-2.9, p = 0.02) when compared with morning and intermediate chronotypes. We conclude that eveningness is associated with skipping breakfast and a higher consumption of calories, carbohydrates and fats in breakfast skippers. These eating behaviors may predispose these individuals to being overweight.