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J Epidemiol. 2015;25(4):332-6. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20140131. Epub 2015 Mar 14.

Association between eating speed and metabolic syndrome in a three-year population-based cohort study.

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Dept. of Health Education, Anhui Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.



Metabolic syndrome has received increased global attention over the past few years. Eating behaviors, particularly eating speed, have long been of interest as factors that contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between eating speed and incidence of metabolic syndrome among middle-aged and elderly Japanese people.


A total of 8941 community residents from Soka City in Saitama Prefecture, aged from 40 to 75 years and without a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, participated in the baseline survey in 2008 and were followed until 2011. Anthropometric measurements and lifestyle factors were measured at baseline and follow-up. The association between eating speed and incidence of metabolic syndrome was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for potential confounding variables.


During the 3-year follow-up, 647 people were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (25.0 cases/1000 person-years). The incidence rates of metabolic syndrome among non-fast-eating and fast-eating participants were 2.3% and 3.1%, respectively. The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio for incidence of metabolic syndrome in the fast-eating group compared to the not-fast-eating group was 1.30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.60) after adjustment for the potential confounding factors. Eating speed was significantly correlated with waist circumference and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) components of metabolic risk factors. Hazard ratios in the fast-eating group compared with the reference group were 1.35 (95% CI, 1.10-1.66) for waist circumference and 1.37 (95% CI, 1.12-1.67) for HDL-C.


Eating speed was associated with the incidence of metabolic syndrome. Eating slowly is therefore suggested to be an important lifestyle factor for preventing metabolic syndrome among the Japanese.

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