Tendency toward eveningness is associated with unhealthy dietary habits

Chronobiol Int. 2012 Aug;29(7):920-7. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2012.699128.


Subjects with higher preference for evening hours in daily activities (eveningness) have been repeatedly shown to practice adverse health behaviors as compared to those preferring morning hours (morningness). However, associations between chronotype and dietary intake have not been explored intensively. The authors explored whether the human chronotype is associated with food and nutrient intakes in a random sample of the population aged 25 to 74 yrs. The cross-sectional study included 4493 subjects from the National FINRISK 2007 Study. Chronotype was assessed using a shortened version of Horne and Östberg's Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire. Diet was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Associations between morningness-eveningness (ME) score and dietary intakes were analyzed by linear regression and difference between lowest (eveningness) and highest (morningness) ME score quintiles by Tukey's test. In the multivariable model, intakes of whole grain, rye, potatoes, and vegetables and roots decreased, whereas those of wine and chocolate increased with lower ME scores. Participants in the lowest ME score quintile consumed less fish (p < .001) and fruits (p = .025) and more chocolate (p = .001) and soft drinks (p = .015) compared to the highest quintile. No linear association was found between ME score and total energy intake. In regression analyses, intake of alcohol (as a percentage of total energy intake; E%) and sucrose (E%) increased, whereas intake of carbohydrates (E%), protein (E%), fiber, folic acid, and sodium decreased with lower ME scores. Furthermore, participants in the lowest ME score quintile ingested more fat (E%) (p < .001) and less vitamin D (p < .001) compared to the highest quintile, even though no linear trend between ME score and these nutrients emerged. In conclusion, these results support existing evidence that individuals with circadian preference toward eveningness have less healthy lifestyles, such as unfavorable dietary habits, than those with tendency toward morningness, which could put them at higher risk of several chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eating / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires