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Open AccessArticle

Late Eating Is Associated with Obesity, Inflammatory Markers and Circadian-Related Disturbances in School-Aged Children

Department of Physiology, University of Murcia, IMIB-Arrixaca, 30120 Murcia, Spain
Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Clinical Analysis (Interlab-UMU), University of Murcia, 30120 Murcia, Spain
Health Area of Lorca, Lorca, 30800 Murcia, Spain
Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Medical Chronobiology Program, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2881;
Received: 16 August 2020 / Revised: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
Late eating has been shown to promote metabolic dysregulation and to be associated with obesity in adults. However, few studies have explored this association in children. We compared the presence of obesity, metabolic alterations and circadian-related disturbances between school-aged children who were early dinner eaters (EDE) or late dinner eaters (LDE). School-age children (n = 397; 8–12 years; mean BMI (range): 19.4 kg/m2 (11.6–35.1); 30.5% overweight/obesity) from Spain were classified into EDE and LDE, according to dinner timing (Median: 21:07). Seven-day-dietary-records were used to assess food-timing and composition. Non-invasive tools were used to collect metabolic biomarkers (saliva), sleep and circadian-related variables (body-temperature and actigraphy). Compared to EDE, LDE were more likely to be overweight/obese [OR: 2.1 (CI: 1.33, 3.31); p = 0.002], and had higher waist-circumference and inflammatory markers, such as IL-6 (1.6-fold) (p = 0.036)) and CRP (1.4-fold) than EDE (p = 0.009). LDE had alterations in the daily patterns of: (a) body-temperature, with a phase delay of 26 min (p = 0.002), and a reduced amplitude (LDE = 0.028 (0.001) and EDE = 0.030 (0.001) (Mean (SEM); p = 0.039); (b) cortisol, with a reduced amplitude (LDE = 0.94 (0.02) and EDE = 1.00 (0.02); p = 0.035). This study represents a significant step towards the understanding of novel aspects in the timing of food intake in children. View Full-Text
Keywords: obesity; children; dinner; chronobiology; biomarkers obesity; children; dinner; chronobiology; biomarkers
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Martínez-Lozano, N.; Tvarijonaviciute, A.; Ríos, R.; Barón, I.; Scheer, F.A.J.L.; Garaulet, M. Late Eating Is Associated with Obesity, Inflammatory Markers and Circadian-Related Disturbances in School-Aged Children. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2881.

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