Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 595–601 | Cite as

Effects of breakfast eating and eating frequency on body mass index and weight loss outcomes in adults enrolled in an obesity treatment program



This study examined the effects of breakfast eating and eating frequency on objectively assessed BMI and weight loss outcomes among adults enrolled in obesity treatment. Participants completed measures of breakfast eating and eating frequency before and after treatment and had their height and weight measured. Baseline breakfast eating and eating frequency were not associated with baseline BMI (p = .34, p = .45, respectively) and did not predict weight loss during treatment (p = .36, p = .58, respectively). From pre- to post-treatment, there was no significant change in eating frequency (p = .27) and changes in eating frequency had no impact on weight loss (r = −.08, p = .23). However, increases in breakfast eating during treatment were associated with significantly better weight loss outcomes (r = .26, p < .001). Among participants who increased breakfast eating, those who had either no change or a decrease in daily eating frequency were more likely to achieve a 5% weight loss compared to those who had an increase in daily eating frequency (p = .04). These results suggest that increasing breakfast eating, while simultaneously reducing or keeping eating frequency constant, may improve outcomes in obesity treatment. Experimental studies are needed to further elucidate these effects.


Breakfast Eating frequency BMI Weight loss Obesity treatment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Maureen Megson, Rena Wing, and Tricia Leahey declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Allied Health SciencesUniversity of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural ResourcesStorrsUSA
  2. 2.The Miriam Hospital/Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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