The Association Between Meal Timing and Frequency With Cardiometabolic Profile in Patients With Bipolar Disorder

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2016 Jun;133(6):453-8. doi: 10.1111/acps.12578. Epub 2016 Apr 15.


Objective: The goal of this study was to explore the association of timing of and frequency of meals with markers of cardiometabolic risk in patients with bipolar disorder in out-patient maintenance treatment.

Methods: We used Pittsburgh Sleep Diary and actigraphy measures for individuals with bipolar I disorder. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to determine whether dinnertime, instability of dinnertime, and/or interval between meals were associated with metabolic syndrome and its components.

Results: Later dinnertime was associated with greater waist circumference (β = 0.25, P = 0.02) after adjusting for age, sex, dinner-to-bed interval, and sleep duration. Longer breakfast-to-lunch intervals were also associated with greater waist circumferences (β =-.35, P = .002) after adjusting for age, sex, and sleep duration. Neither instability of dinnertime nor number of meals per day was associated with the metabolic syndrome or its components.

Conclusion: Weight gain is often perceived as inevitable side-effect of medications. While patients often need to be on medication to function, a more careful lifestyle assessment with attention to social rhythms and timing of activities may be critical not only for mood stability, but also to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; meal timing; metabolic syndrome; waist circumference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference