HealthDay News — The number of daily meals, but not the mean interval between meals, is associated with weight change, according to a study published online January 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Di Zhau, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the association between meal intervals and weight trajectory among adults in a multicenter prospective cohort study of adults from 3 health systems. A total of 547 participants downloaded and used a mobile application to record the timing of meals and sleep. Information on weight and comorbidities was obtained at each outpatient visit for up to 10 years before until 10 months after baseline. Weight trajectories were modeled using mixed linear regression.

The researchers found that the mean interval was 11.5 hours from first to last meal, which was not associated with weight change. There was a positive association observed for the number of meals per day with weight change. The average difference in annual weight change was 0.28 kg in association with an increase of one daily meal.

“The average daily number of large and medium meals was associated with increased weight over time, suggesting that the meal frequency and meal sizes, rather than the timing of meals, was a stronger determinant of weight gain over time,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. A second author helped found DaiWare, which developed the Daily24 mobile app used in this study.

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