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Night-Eating Syndrome and Depressive Symptoms in College Freshmen: Fitness Improvement Tactics in Youths (FITYou) Project

Authors Guo F, Tian Y, Cui Y, Huang C

Received 9 October 2019

Accepted for publication 5 February 2020

Published 24 February 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 185—191


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Feng Guo,1 Ying Tian,2 Yufei Cui,1 Cong Huang3,4

1Institute of Exercise Epidemiology and Department of Physical Education, Huaiyin Institute of Technology, Huai’an, People’s Republic of China; 2College of Sports Science, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Sports and Exercise Science, College of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

Correspondence: Feng Guo
Institute of Exercise Epidemiology and Department of Physical Education, Huaiyin Institute of Technology, Huai’an 223003, People’s Republic of China
Cong Huang
Department of Sports and Exercise Science, College of Education, Zhejiang University, 148 Tianmushan Road, Hangzhou 310007, People’s Republic of China

Background: Emerging evidence has shown that night-eating syndrome is correlated to depressive symptoms. However, these studies were mainly small-scale investigations.
Purpose: This study aimed to examine the association of night-eating syndrome with depressive symptoms among college students using a large-scale sample.
Methods: A cross-sectional study, which was a part of the Fitness Improvement Tactics in Youth Project, was conducted in 2017. The current study included 3278 college freshmen from Shenyang, China. They completed self-administered questionnaires and provided their sociodemographic and lifestyle information. Night-eating syndrome was assessed using the night-eating questionnaire (NEQ). Depressive symptoms were measured using the Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS).
Results: Of participants, 5.4% had night-eating syndrome (NEQ score ≥ 30), and 21.3% had depressive symptoms (SDS score ≥ 53). Prevalence of night-eating syndrome was higher in male than female students (p = 0.006). Logistic regression analysis indicated that students with night-eating syndrome had a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms than those without the syndrome after adjusting covariates (odds ratios [95% CI]: 3.28 [2.40, 4.48], p < 0.001). Consistent results were found when night-eating syndrome was defined as NEQ score ≥ 25. In addition, analysis of covariance showed a significant association between NEQ quartiles and SDS score (mean [95% CI]: Q1, 44.4 [43.8, 45.0]; Q2, 43.4 [42.7, 44.0]; Q3, 44.4 [43.7, 45.1]; Q4, 47.5 [46.9, 48.2], p < 0.001 for linear and quadratic trend).
Conclusion: This study showed an association between night-eating syndrome and depressive symptoms among Chinese college freshmen.

Keywords: night eating, eating behaviors, depressive symptoms, college students, youth

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