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Pac Health Dialog. 2001 Mar;8(1):59-65.

Frequency of eating occasions reported by young New Zealand Polynesian and European women.

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Department of Applied Science, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1020, New Zealand.


The frequency of eating occasions reported by young New Zealand Polynesian and European women was examined. The timing and content of meals and snacks were analysed from 80 self-reported seven-day food diaries from a previous study of 80 young women (39 New Zealand Polynesian and 41 European) aged between 18 and 27 years. Nineteen Polynesian and 20 European women had a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg.m-2 and were classified as obese. Breakfast was eaten more often by the European women than the Polynesian (median 4 versus 3 times.week-1, P = 0.012). Eleven (28%) of the Polynesian women skipped breakfast every day of the study week compared to only three (7%) of the Europeans (P = 0.019). Dinner was eaten more frequently by the European women (P = 0.020) who also ate significantly more meals during the week than the Polynesian (P = 0.039). Non-obese Europeans ate breakfast more frequently than their obese counterparts (P = 0.002) while no significant difference was observed between non-obese and obese Polynesians. The obese European and Polynesian groups reported similar patterns of breakfast consumption which differed significantly from the non-obese Europeans (P = 0.008). The young women in this study did not eat breakfast every day with the young Polynesian women eating fewer meals than the Europeans. There was an association between ethnic origin, body size and eating patterns in the women. These findings in comparison with previous studies in other countries indicate that the frequency of eating breakfast may be declining with time.

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