This study examined the associations of night eating with depression and depressive symptoms in Korean adults. The study used a nationally representative sample of 31,690 Korean adults (≥19 years old) from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2008 to 2013. The participants were divided into two groups based on status of night eating: night eaters (consuming ≥25% of total daily energy intake between 21:00 and 06:00) and non-night eaters. Depression was defined based on diagnosis by a doctor, whereas depressive symptoms were defined as feelings of sadness or desperation for more than two weeks in the last one year. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between night eating and odds of depression and depressive symptoms after controlling for age, education, income, marital status, drinking, smoking, day of recalled intake, physical activity, body mass index, menopausal status (women only), total energy intake, and sleep duration. A total of 14.3% of Korean adults were night eaters. Night eaters were more likely to be men, young, less educated, single, drinkers, current smokers, and not employed (all p
s < 0.05). In women, night eaters had higher odds of depression (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02–1.75; p
for trend = 0.0389) and depressive symptoms (AOR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.01–1.41; p
for trend = 0.0382) compared with non-night eaters. However, no associations of night eating with depression and depressive symptoms were found in men. Night eaters had higher odds of depression and depressive symptoms only in Korean women. Future studies are warranted to elucidate the underlying psychological and behavioral mechanisms that in turn may shed light on the factors influencing both night eating and odds of depression and depressive symptoms.
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