The evidence is not clear on how – or even whether – snacking, breakfast eating or meal size links to weight. A large study adds new data to this body of research suggesting that fewer daily meals and snacks can help prevent weight gain, at least for this healthy group. For cancer prevention, staying a healthy weight is key to reducing risk for many common cancers like endometrial, postmenopausal breast and colorectal.
The authors analyzed data from the Adventist Health Study that includes over 50,000 North American adults. At the beginning of the study, participants reported their height and weight, as well as health habits like exercise, sleep and television watching. They also reported their eating habits via 24 hour recalls and a food frequency questionnaire.
The participants – members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – tend to be more health-conscious, nonsmokers, mostly nondrinkers and eat less meat than most Americans.
Researchers used this data to determine how many meals – including snacks and breakfast – participants ate, and which meals were typically largest. They calculated participants’ weight changes by comparing Body Mass Index (BMI) at the beginning and end of the study.
An average of 7 years later, the study found:
For participants eating 1 or 2 meals a day, their BMI decreased in comparison to those eating 3 meals per day.
We just released our Breast Cancer Report, updating the research and findings from 2010. The new 120-page report packs a lot of research, statistics and discussion of lifestyle factors relating to breast cancer risk.
What do all the stats and research mean for you? Here are three of the most important take-aways, the major findings and how you can put them into action.
According to a recent study, fewer US adults with overweight or obesity are trying to lose weight in what is a concerning trend for cancer prevention. With obesity rates increasing and fewer at a healthy weight, more people will be at risk for several cancers such as post menopausal breast and colorectal, as well as other chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
In their analysis, researchers used data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) from 1988 through 2014 to compare weight loss efforts over the past couple of decades. They found that the percent of Americans with overweight trying to lose weight dropped from 56% to 49% in the past 25 years. This drop occurred in nearly all gender and ethnic categories, but perhaps the most concerning decline was for black women. Almost 8 in 10 black women have overweight or obesity, but those trying to lose weight went from 65.5% to almost 55%. White women and men also showed drops in weight loss efforts.