Diet Quality Is Lower and Energy Intake Is Higher on Weekends Compared with Weekdays in Midlife Women: A 1-Year Cohort Study

Published:February 28, 2017DOI:



      Differences in energy and macronutrient intakes by weekday and weekend have been reported, but there are few data on differences in food group consumption and indices of diet quality.


      The aim of this study was to describe dietary intake by day and on weekends compared with weekdays.


      This study utilized a longitudinal cohort design with self-reported dietary intake collected using the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool.


      Participants were ambulatory women with access to high-speed internet, body mass index between 18 and 35, and aged 40 to 60 years from the Life in All Seasons study (n=52) conducted in Grand Forks, ND, between July 2012 and July 2014. Each woman completed an Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool diet recall every 10 days for 1 year.

      Main outcome measures

      Primary outcome measures were total and energy intake from macronutrients, food groups (per 1,000 kcal), and Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) scores from 1,866 24-hour recalls.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Effects of weekend on energy and macronutrient intake, energy-adjusted food groups, and HEI-2010 scores and component scores were tested using mixed linear models.


      Participants (n=52) completed 1,080 recalls on weekdays and 786 on weekends. Seventy-five percent of women reported consuming more energy on weekends than on weekdays, with a higher mean intake of 158 kcal on weekends (P<0.01). The percentage of energy from carbohydrate (P<0.01) and protein (P<0.01) were both lower on weekends, and percentage of energy from alcohol higher (P<0.01). There was no difference in the percentage of energy from fat (P=0.07). Reported energy intake was greatest on Saturdays and lowest on Tuesdays. On weekends, women had reduced diet quality with more alcoholic beverages, solid fat, and potatoes, and less yogurt, whole fruits, dark green and orange vegetables, poultry, nuts and seeds, and whole grains per 1,000 kcal than on weekdays. HEI-2010 scores were lower on weekends than weekdays (P<0.01). Component scores were lower for whole fruits (P<0.01), greens and beans (P=0.02), whole grains (P<0.01), and dairy (P<0.01).


      Midlife women should be encouraged to maintain diet quality during weekends to improve overall diet quality scores.


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      L. Jahns is a research nutritionist, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND.


      Z. Conrad is a research nutritionist, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND.


      L. K. Johnson is a statistician, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND.


      A. J. Scheett is a research dietitian, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND.


      K. S. Stote is an associate professor in health sciences, State University of New York, Empire State College, Saratoga Springs.


      S. K. Raatz is a research nutritionist, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND, and adjunct professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul.