Aim: To examine the association between skipping meals and snacking events and dietary and clinical characteristics in children and adolescents using modern insulin treatment.
Methods: Dietary intake was recorded for 4 d in food diaries in 655 young diabetic patients. Number of meals and snacking events was recorded in a separated questionnaire, while clinical data were obtained from case record forms. Skipping meals refer to consuming a main meal (e.g., breakfast) five times a week or less.
Results: Modern insulin treatment may favor a more flexible lifestyle. This study shows that there are fewer young diabetic patients who skip meals than non-diabetic controls (p < 0.001) even when using modern intensified insulin treatment. However, skipping meals among young diabetic patients was associated with negative characteristics such as having suboptimal hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (OR 4.7, p = 0.02), higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (OR 4.0, p < 0.001), watching more TV (OR 3.6, p < 0.001), being overweight (OR 2.8, p = 0.03), as well as having a higher intake of added sugar (OR 2.1, p = 0.01) and lower intake of fiber (OR 0.2, p = 0.04) compared with those not skipping meals. Having more than two snacking events during the day was associated with higher HbA1c, higher intake of added sugar and sweets, and spending more hours in front of the TV or personal computer.
Conclusions: In general, fewer children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes skip meals compared with healthy peers. Those who skip meals and have more snacking events have poorer glycemic control and less healthy dietary and leisure habits.