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Night eating and nocturnal eating—two different or similar syndromes among obese patients?


OBJECTIVE: The main aim of this study was to identify subjects with (1) night eating syndrome (defined as morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia and insomnia) and (2) nocturnal eating syndrome (defined as eating at night after having gone to bed). In the literature the differences and similarities between these two syndromes are not clear.

SUBJECTS: One-hundred and ninety-four obese patients from an academic, clinical obesity unit. Mean BMI (±s.d.) was 40±5 kg/m2, age 44±12 y and 76% were women.

MEASUREMENTS: Questionnaires with multiple choices and open questions along with the Binge Eating Scale.

RESULTS: Fourteen percent of the patients met the criteria for night eating and/or nocturnal eating syndrome. Night eating syndrome was manifest in 6% of the patients and nocturnal eating syndrome in 10%. Both the night eaters and the nocturnal eaters had more trouble getting to sleep than the patients without night/nocturnal eating problems (P<0.001 and P<0.01). The nocturnal eaters also had more trouble staying asleep (P<0.001). Morning anorexia was not typically found in nocturnal eaters. Being on long-term sick leave was more common among the nocturnal eaters (P<0.01).

CONCLUSION: Fourteen percent of the patients at our obesity unit met the criteria for night eating and/or nocturnal eating syndrome. There are clear similarities between night eating syndrome and nocturnal eating syndrome, but also differences.

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This study was supported by grants from Resource Center for Eating Disorders.

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Correspondence to C Cerú-Björk.

Eating and Sleeping habit Questionnaire

Eating and Sleeping habit Questionnaire

Table 4 Eating and Sleeping habit Questionnaire

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Cerú-Björk, C., Andersson, I. & Rössner, S. Night eating and nocturnal eating—two different or similar syndromes among obese patients?. Int J Obes 25, 365–372 (2001).

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  • food selection
  • night eating
  • nocturnal eating
  • obesity
  • sleeping problem

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