Skip to main content

Employment status and temporal patterns of energy intake: Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan, 2005–2008

  • Chun-An Chau (a1), Wen-Harn Pan (a2) and Hsin-Jen Chen (a1)
Abstract Objective

To (i) identify the major temporal patterns of energy intake among adults; (ii) examine the association between employment status and the patterns; and (iii) examine the association between dietary quality and the patterns.


Secondary analysis based on the cross-sectional population-based nutrition survey in Taiwan, 2005–2008. Based on energy intake levels at six time intervals of a day derived from 24 h recall data, we applied cluster analysis to identify major temporal patterns of energy intake. Self-reported employment status was categorized into six groups: full-time, part-time, no job, student, homemaker and retired. Multinomial logistic regression models were fitted to test the association between temporal patterns of energy intake and employment groups.


Non-institutionalized community dwellers.


Non-pregnant adults (≥19 years old) with total energy intake between 2092 and 20920 kJ/d (500 and 5000 kcal/d; n 4508).


Five major patterns were identified, which can be seen as the traditional meal pattern and its variants. About 20 % of adults had the traditional pattern. The most prevalent pattern was the delayed morning meal pattern (33 %), which had lower Ca and P intakes than the traditional pattern. About 14 % of adults had the delayed lunchtime pattern, which had lower protein, PUFA, fibre, Ca, P, vitamin D and vitamin E intakes than the traditional. Adjusted prevalence of the delayed lunchtime pattern was highest among full-time students (34 %), followed by part-time workers (24 %), and was lower in retired (8 %), homemakers (11 %) and full-time employed adults (12 %).


Adults’ temporal patterns of energy intake, which varied with their employment status, affected their dietary quality.

Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email
Hide All
1. St-Onge MP, Ard J, Baskin ML et al. (2017) Meal timing and frequency: implications for cardiovascular disease prevention: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 135, e96e121.
2. Ekmekcioglu C & Touitou Y (2011) Chronobiological aspects of food intake and metabolism and their relevance on energy balance and weight regulation. Obes Rev 12, 1425.
3. Hibi M, Masumoto A, Naito Y et al. (2013) Nighttime snacking reduces whole body fat oxidation and increases LDL cholesterol in healthy young women. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 304, R94R101.
4. Almoosawi S, Prynne CJ, Hardy R et al. (2013) Time-of-day of energy intake: association with hypertension and blood pressure 10 years later in the 1946 British Birth Cohort. J Hypertens 31, 882892.
5. Chen H-J, Wang Y & Cheskin LJ (2016) Relationship between frequency of eating and cardiovascular disease mortality in US adults: the NHANES III follow-up study. Ann Epidemiol 26, 527533.
6. Mekary RA, Giovannucci E, Willett WC et al. (2012) Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in men: breakfast omission, eating frequency, and snacking. Am J Clin Nutr 95, 11821189.
7. Johnston JD (2014) Physiological responses to food intake throughout the day. Nutr Res Rev 27, 107118.
8. Ali SM & Lindstrom M (2006) Socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioural, and psychological determinants of BMI among young women: differing patterns for underweight and overweight/obesity. Eur J Public Health 16, 325331.
9. Alkerwi A, Vernier C, Sauvageot N et al. (2015) Demographic and socioeconomic disparity in nutrition: application of a novel correlated component regression approach. BMJ Open 5, e006814.
10. Lee KW, Song WO & Cho MS (2016) Dietary quality differs by consumption of meals prepared at home vs. outside in Korean adults. Nutr Res Pract 10, 294304.
11. Vernay M, Malon A, Oleko A et al. (2009) Association of socioeconomic status with overall overweight and central obesity in men and women: the French Nutrition and Health Survey 2006. BMC Public Health 9, 215.
12. Smith KJ, McNaughton SA, Cleland VJ et al. (2013) Health, behavioral, cognitive, and social correlates of breakfast skipping among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. J Nutr 143, 17741784.
13. Suzuki A, Sakurazawa H, Fujita T et al. (2016) Overeating, late dinner, and perceived stress in Japanese workers. Obes Res Clin Pract 10, 390398.
14. Barnes TL, French SA, Harnack LJ et al. (2015) Snacking behaviors, diet quality, and body mass index in a community sample of working adults. J Acad Nutr Diet 115, 11171123.
15. Kant AK & Graubard BI (2015) Within-person comparison of eating behaviors, time of eating, and dietary intake on days with and without breakfast: NHANES 2005–2010. Am J Clin Nutr 102, 661670.
16. Kim SY & Kim SM (2010) Energy intake and snack choice by the meal patterns of employed people. Nutr Res Pract 4, 4350.
17. Myhre JB, Loken EB, Wandel M et al. (2015) Meal types as sources for intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains among Norwegian adults. Public Health Nutr 18, 20112021.
18. Pereira MA, Erickson E, McKee P et al. (2011) Breakfast frequency and quality may affect glycemia and appetite in adults and children. J Nutr 141, 163168.
19. Purslow LR, Sandhu MS, Forouhi N et al. (2008) Energy intake at breakfast and weight change: prospective study of 6,764 middle-aged men and women. Am J Epidemiol 167, 188192.
20. Bi H, Gan Y, Yang C et al. (2015) Breakfast skipping and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Public Health Nutr 18, 30133019.
21. Mathias KC, Jacquier E & Eldridge AL (2016) Missing lunch is associated with lower intakes of micronutrients from foods and beverages among children and adolescents in the United States. J Acad Nutr Diet 116, 667676.e6.
22. O’Neil CE, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Hayes D et al. (2014) The role of breakfast in health: definition and criteria for a quality breakfast. J Acad Nutr Diet 114, 2 Suppl., S8S26.
23. Leech RM, Worsley A, Timperio A et al. (2017) Temporal eating patterns: a latent class analysis approach. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 14, 3.
24. Hu FB (2002) Dietary pattern analysis: a new direction in nutritional epidemiology. Curr Opin Lipidol 13, 39.
25. Eicher-Miller HA, Khanna N, Boushey CJ et al. (2016) Temporal dietary patterns derived among the adult participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004 are associated with diet quality. J Acad Nutr Diet 116, 283291.
26. Lee S, McCann D & Messenger JC (2007) Working Time Around the World. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
27. Tsai M-C, Nitta M, Kim S-W et al. (2016) Working overtime in East Asia: convergence or divergence? J Contemp Asia 46, 700722.
28. Tu SH, Chen C, Hsieh YT et al. (2011) Design and sample characteristics of the 2005–2008 Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 20, 225237.
29. Pan W-H & Tu S-H (2008) 2004–2008 Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) (D00090) [Data file]. Taipei: Survey Research Data Archive, Center for Survey Research, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica.
30. Pan WH, Wu HJ, Yeh CJ et al. (2011) Diet and health trends in Taiwan: comparison of two nutrition and health surveys from 1993–1996 and 2005–2008. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 20, 238250.
31. Wu SJ, Pan WH, Yeh NH et al. (2011) Trends in nutrient and dietary intake among adults and the elderly: from NAHSIT 1993–1996 to 2005–2008. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 20, 251265.
32. Bruening M, van Woerden I, Todd M et al. (2016) A mobile ecological momentary assessment tool (devilSPARC) for nutrition and physical activity behaviors in college students: a validation study. J Med Internet Res 18, e209.
33. Howarth NC, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR et al. (2006) Dietary energy density is associated with overweight status among 5 ethnic groups in the multiethnic cohort study. J Nutr 136, 22432248.
34. Zhang Z, Gillespie C, Welsh JA et al. (2015) Usual intake of added sugars and lipid profiles among the US adolescents: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005–2010. J Adolesc Health 56, 352359.
35. de Castro JM (2004) The time of day of food intake influences overall intake in humans. J Nutr 134, 104111.
36. Mooi E & Sarstedt M (2011) Cluster analysis. In A Concise Guide to Market Research: The Process, Data, and Methods using IBM SPSS Statistics, pp. 237284. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.
37. Lund TB & Gronow J (2014) Destructuration or continuity? The daily rhythm of eating in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1997 and 2012. Appetite 82, 143153.
38. Driskell JA, Kim YN & Goebel KJ (2005) Few differences found in the typical eating and physical activity habits of lower-level and upper-level university students. J Am Diet Assoc 105, 798801.
39. Muff C, Reinhardt JD, Erbel R et al. (2011) Who is at risk of irregular meal intake? Results from a population-based study. J Public Health 19, 453462.
40. Chun IA, Ryu SY, Park J et al. (2015) Associations between food insecurity and healthy behaviors among Korean adults. Nutr Res Pract 9, 425432.
41. Allison KC, Lundgren JD, O’Reardon JP et al. (2008) The Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ): psychometric properties of a measure of severity of the Night Eating Syndrome. Eat Behav 9, 6272.
42. Andersen GS, Stunkard AJ, Sorensen TI et al. (2004) Night eating and weight change in middle-aged men and women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 28, 13381343.
43. Levitsky DA & Pacanowski CR (2013) Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. Physiol Behav 119, 916.
44. Birch LL, Billman J & Richards SS (1984) Time of day influences food acceptability. Appetite 5, 109116.
45. Lai I-J (2006) Application of an ecological model to dairy product consumption behavior among eighth graders in Taipei, Taiwan. PhD Thesis, Oregon State University.
46. Lee S & Reicks M (2003) Environmental and behavioral factors are associated with the calcium intake of low-income adolescent girls. J Am Diet Assoc 103, 15261529.
47. Cross AT, Babicz D & Cushman LF (1994) Snacking patterns among 1,800 adults and children. J Am Diet Assoc 94, 13981403.
48. Bellisle F, Dalix AM, Mennen L et al. (2003) Contribution of snacks and meals in the diet of French adults: a diet-diary study. Physiol Behav 79, 183189.
49. Chapelot D (2011) The role of snacking in energy balance: a biobehavioral approach. J Nutr 141, 158162.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Chau et al supplementary material 1

 PDF (446 KB)
446 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 23 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 136 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 21st September 2017 - 15th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.