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Work Under Way

Question

What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations?

Approach to Answering the Question
Data Analysis

Subcommittee
Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Cross-Cutting Working Group

Data Analysis Protocol
Developed for each scientific question being examined, the protocol describes the plan for how the data analysis will be conducted. The protocol provides the:

  • Analytic framework,
  • Analytic plan, and
  • Analysis results.

Frequency of eating, with and without naming conventions, will be described and evaluated in the following ways:

  • Distribution of eating event frequency in a 24 hour period (midnight to midnight)
  • Hourly distribution of eating events in a 24 hour period
  • Percent of Americans engaging in self-described meals (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snacks including beverage events in a 24 hour period (midnight to midnight)
  • Time (hour of the day) in which self-described meals and snacks including beverage events are consumed in a 24 hour period (midnight to midnight) 

The relationship between frequency of eating and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations will be evaluated in the following ways:

Examined by eating event type with naming convention

  • Proportion of daily food group and subgroup intake by eating event type 
  • Proportion of daily nutrient intake by eating event type 

Proportion of total energy intake and select dietary component intakes from foods and beverages reported between 8:00pm and 11:59pm.

For additional details, see the full protocol for the question, what is the relationship between the frequency of eating and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations? 

View Full Protocol

Draft Conclusion Statement

The draft conclusion statements listed below describe the state of the science related to the specific question examined. Draft conclusions are not considered final until they have been deliberated with and decided upon by the full Committee and published in the Committee’s final advisory report. Individual conclusion statements should not be interpreted as dietary guidance or the Committee’s overarching advice to the Departments.

Eating patterns vary by frequency and timing in the United States, and are shaped by age, race/ethnicity, and income. On average, the U.S. population reports 5.7 eating occasions per day, occurring most often at noon or “evening”. Most of the U.S. population report consuming 3 meals (64% of the population) or 2 meals (28% of the population) per day. Snacking is ubiquitous, occurring in 93% of the U.S. population. Snacks provide 22 to 23% of total energy consumed and 2 to 3 snacking events are reported on average per day. Late-night eating events often include alcohol intake (in adults), and intakes of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats in adolescents and adults. When compared with 2 meals, Americans who consume 3 meals per day tend to have approximately 5-point higher Healthy Eating Index scores.