Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2017 Mar 17;19(1):31.
doi: 10.1186/s13058-017-0821-x.

Nighttime Eating and Breast Cancer Among Chinese Women in Hong Kong

Free PMC article

Nighttime Eating and Breast Cancer Among Chinese Women in Hong Kong

Mengjie Li et al. Breast Cancer Res. .
Free PMC article


Background: A novel line of research suggests that eating at nighttime may have several metabolic consequences that are highly relevant to breast cancer. We investigated the association between nighttime eating habits after 10 p.m. and breast cancer in Hong Kong women.

Methods: A hospital-based case-control study was conducted during 2012-2015. A total of 922 patients with incident breast cancer (cases) and 913 hospital controls were recruited and interviewed using a standard questionnaire including information on eating behavior during both daytime and nighttime. We collected the timing, duration, types and frequencies of food intake of eating at nighttime. Odds ratios (ORs) for the risk of breast cancer in relation to nighttime eating-related variables were calculated by unconditional multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Eating at night after 10 pm was significantly associated with breast cancer with an adjusted OR of 1.50 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-2.12, P = 0.02), and the associations were stronger in women who had the longest duration of nighttime eating (≥20 years) (adjusted OR = 2.28 (95% CI 1.13-4.61, P = 0.02) and who ate late (midnight to 2 a.m.) (adjusted OR = 2.73, 95% CI 1.01-6.99, P = 0.04). Interestingly, nighttime eating was only associated with breast cancer among women who consumed staple foods (OR = 2.16, 95% CI 1.42-3.29, P < 0.001) but not those who ate vegetables or fruits as nighttime meals. The significant association between nighttime eating and breast cancer was observed among women with body mass index (BMI) <25 (OR = 2.29, 95% CI 1.48-3.52, P < 0.001) but not among women with BMI ≥25.

Conclusions: Results from this study suggest a possible association between nighttime eating behavior and breast cancer. These findings need to be confirmed by independent large studies.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Dietary factors; Nighttime eating behavior.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 articles


    1. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0. Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer []. Accessed 1 Sept 2016.
    1. Hong Kong Cancer Registry, Hospital Authority. Female Breast Cancer in 2014. []. Accessed 1 Sept 2016.
    1. Striegel‐Moore RH, Franko DL, Thompson D, Affenito S, Kraemer HC. Night eating: prevalence and demographic correlates. Obesity. 2006;14(1):139–47. doi: 10.1038/oby.2006.17. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Paschos GK, Ibrahim S, Song W-L, Kunieda T, Grant G, Reyes TM, Bradfield CA, Vaughan CH, Eiden M, Masoodi M. Obesity in mice with adipocyte-specific deletion of clock component Arntl. Nat Med. 2012;18(12):1768–77. doi: 10.1038/nm.2979. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Gluck ME, Venti CA, Salbe AD, Krakoff J. Nighttime eating: commonly observed and related to weight gain in an inpatient food intake study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(4):900–5. - PMC - PubMed

Publication types