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Snacking Behaviors, Diet Quality, and Body Mass Index in a Community Sample of Working Adults

Published:March 11, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.01.009

      Abstract

      Background

      Snacking behaviors have been linked with higher energy intake and excess weight. However, results have been inconsistent. In addition, few data are available on the extent to which snacking affects diet quality.

      Objective

      This study describes snacking behaviors, including total snacking energy, frequency, time of day, and percentage of snacking energy intake by food groups, and their associations with diet quality and body mass index (BMI; calculated as kg/m2).

      Design

      Snacking behaviors and dietary intake were examined cross-sectionally among 233 adults participating in a community-based worksite nutrition intervention from September 2010 through February 2013. Three telephone-administered 24-hour dietary recalls were collected (2 weekdays; 1 weekend day). Diet quality was characterized by the Healthy Eating Index 2010 and BMI was computed using measured height and weight.

      Setting

      The setting was a large metropolitan medical complex in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

      Main outcome measures

      Outcome measures included diet quality and BMI.

      Statistical analyses

      General linear regression models were used to examine associations between each of the snacking behaviors as independent variables, and diet quality and BMI as dependent variables.

      Results

      Percent of snacking energy from fruit and juice (β=.13; P=0.001) and nuts (β=.16; P=0.008) were significantly positively associated with diet quality. Percent of snacking energy from desserts and sweets (β=−.16; P<0.001) and sugar-sweetened beverages (β=−.22; P=0.024) were significantly inversely associated. Percent of snacking energy from vegetables (β=−.18; P=0.044) was significantly associated with lower BMI. Percent snacking energy from desserts and sweets was significantly associated with a higher BMI (β=.04; P=0.017).

      Conclusions

      Snack food choices, but not total energy from snacks, frequency, or time of day, were significantly associated with diet quality and BMI.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      T. L. Barnes is research associate, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      S. A. French is a professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      L. J. Harnack is a professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      N. R. Mitchell is a research fellow, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      J. Wolfson is assistant professor, Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis.