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Late Night Eating A Culprit For Weight Gain In College Students
Eating between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. is a contributing factor to weight gain in college students, according to the results of a study presented today at the 52nd American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn. In a 12-week assessment of college students' eating habits, researchers found their total energy consumption did not influence weight gain as much as their late-night energy intake.

Two hundred twelve sedentary college students were recruited to participate in the study. Individual energy intake was assessed at random intervals 4 days/week, 2 meals/day for 12 weeks in a university cafeteria.

Participants allowed researchers to use picture plate waste methods (digital images to quantify energy intake) and 24-hour recall procedures that used food models and standardized, neutral probing questions. Recalls were performed to assist participants in remembering their food intake outside the cafeteria.

Men and women had about the same weight change. On average, their intake during the "late-night" hours (between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.) was approximately 500 calories, about 20% of their daily energy intake of 2,300 calories.

Over the study period, participants gained an average of 1.1 lbs., which appeared to be mainly the result of energy consumed during late-night hours. In fact, the team's analysis demonstrated that every 100 calories consumed between 8 pm and 4 am resulted in 0.25 lbs. of weight gain over the 12-week period.

"College students are especially at risk for weight gain, and this information tells us more about their eating habits that helps explain this," said Gretchen A. Speer, ATC, lead author of the study. "Late-night eating is related to weight gain in this group, so interventions to reduce this behavior may decrease their weight gain. Limiting alcohol and avoiding fast food are two potential strategies."
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Courtesy: www.acsm.org
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to promoting and integrating scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.
 
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