Effects of Self-Awareness of Eating Behaviors and Differences in Daily Habits Among Japanese University Students on Changes in Weight and Metabolism

Tetsuya Kakuma, Yuichi Yoshida, Mitsuhiro Okamoto, Hirotaka Shibata, Takashi Tsutsumi, Yoshikuni Kudo


Background: In addition to daily weight measurements and regular exercise, not skipping breakfast, refraining from eating at night, and not overconsuming soft drinks have been reported to suppress the onset and progression of obesity and metabolic syndrome in adulthood. However, few studies have examined the associations between these daily lifestyle habits and the types of eating behaviors (e.g., food preferences, conception of eating, eating habits) among university students.

Methods: We investigated the characteristics of eating behaviors based on backgrounds and lifestyle factors in association with changes in weight and metabolism using blood sampling data, a questionnaire on eating behaviors conducted during clinical training, and data from regular health examinations of 100 fifth-grade students at the Oita University Faculty of Medicine in Japan.

Results: Characteristic eating behaviors, including daily self-weighing, regular exercise, skipping breakfast, frequently eating late at night, and excess soft drink consumption, were observed for each lifestyle. In addition, three eating behaviors (fast eating, eating late-night snacks, and not eating breakfast) were extracted as factors that cause weight gain of 3% or more from the weight at the time of admission to university. Self-awareness of fast eating was significantly associated with higher body mass index in the fifth grade (P < 0.001), and systolic blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose tended to be higher in students who were strongly aware that they would not have breakfast (P = 0.071 and P = 0.053, respectively).

Conclusions: The results indicated that the habits of “fast eating” and “not eating breakfast” respectively increase weight and may cause metabolic disorders, regardless of current weight. Thus, it is important for students to be self-aware of unhealthy eating behaviors in daily life. Although it was developed for the medical treatment of obese patients, the questionnaire on eating behaviors may be useful for helping university students learn eating behavior habits and peculiarities as well as health education.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2020;10(5):131-139
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jem687


Fast eating; Skipping breakfast; Late-night snacking; College student; Questionnaire on eating behaviors; Weight gain; Metabolic change

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