Reported relationships between frequency, type, and timing of eating occasions and obesity-risk among adults are mixed while associations with obesogenic eating behaviors remain unexplored. The Physical Activity and Changes in Eating (PACE) study was a group-randomized controlled trial to prevent weight gain among 34 small worksites in Seattle from 2005–2009. Baseline surveys assessed body mass index (BMI), obesogenic eating behaviors (e.g., fast food and distracted-eating), and eating occasions (i.e., snacks and meals) among 2265 employees. BMI and waist circumference were measured on a subset (n
= 567). Time-periods for analyses included: morning (12:00 a.m. to 10:59 a.m.), mid-day (11:00 a.m. to 4:29 p.m.), and evening (4:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.). Multilevel linear models estimated associations between snack timing, obesity, and related behaviors while adjusting for meal timing, gender, and worksite random effects. Greater morning snacking was associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption, while greater evening snacking was associated with higher BMI, higher obesogenic dietary index (intake of fast food, French fries, and soft drinks), and higher percent time eating while distracted. Associations with mid-day snacking were mixed. Patterns of association were consistent across repeated and objective measures. Findings suggest that evening snacking is more detrimental to healthy weight compared to snacking at other times of day. Reducing evening snacks may be an important and simple message for population-level obesity prevention efforts.
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