Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.52(5) > 1136451

J Nutr Health. 2019 Oct;52(5):435-448. Korean.
Published online Oct 30, 2019.
© 2019 The Korean Nutrition Society
Associations of the eating alone behavior with nutrient intake, obesity and metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults based on the 2013 ~ 2017 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Hyun Kyung Kim and Jayong Chung
Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Kyunghee University, Seoul 02447, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-2-961-0977, Email:
Received Aug 23, 2019; Revised Oct 10, 2019; Accepted Oct 14, 2019.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



This study examined the changes in the nutrient intake and the prevalences of obesity and metabolic syndrome according to the eating alone behavior in middle-aged men and women.


The data from the 2013 ~ 2017 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. A total of 7,728 adults (3,404 male, 4,324 female) aged 40 ~ 64 years old were included. The subjects were classified into three groups according to the number of times eating alone per day (0, 1 ~ 2, and 3 times/day). Dietary data were collected by a 1-day 24-h recall. The nutrient intakes were compared among the three groups. Survey logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the association of the eating alone behavior with obesity and metabolic syndrome, adjusting for the related confounding variables.


In men, eating alone was associated significantly with a lower intake of potassium (p-for-trend = 0.048) and lower intake of calories from protein (p-for-trend = 0.04). In women, the proportion of subjects consuming energy less than 75% of the estimated energy requirement (p = 0.001) and less than the estimated adequate requirement of riboflavin (p < 0.001) differed significantly according to the eating alone behavior. The eating alone behavior was positively associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome (p-for-trend = 0.033), increased blood pressure (p-for-trend < 0.001), and increased waist circumference (p-for-trend = 0.004). On the other hand, in women, however, the eating alone behavior was associated with a decreased risks of developing obesity (p-for-trend = 0.02). No association was found between the eating alone behavior and the risk of metabolic syndrome in women.


These results suggest that the eating alone behavior is a risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged Korean men.

Keywords: eating alone; behavior; metabolic syndrome; middle-aged adults; Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Fig. 1
The prevalence of insufficiency in nutrient consumption according to eating alone behavior in male and female. 1) The prevalence was calculated based on the proportion of subjects consuming less than 75% of estimated energy requirement (EER) for energy or consuming less than estimated adequate requirement (EAR) for vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium or iron. 2) p-values were calculated via χ2-test, and the p-values less than 0.05 were designated as “*”. 3) Overall insufficiency in nutrient consumption was defined as subjects consuming energy less than < 75% EER and consuming all other nutrients (vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium and iron) less than EAR [23].
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Table 1
General characteristics of participants according to eating alone behavior in male and female1)
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Table 2
Nutrient intake according to eating alone behavior in male and female1)
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Table 3
Nutrient adequacy ratio (NAR) and mean adequacy ratio (MAR) according to eating alone behavior in male and female1)
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Table 4
BMI and metabolic syndrome components according to eating alone behavior in male and female1)
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Table 5
Crude and multivariable adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals1) for obesity and metabolic syndrome (including its individual components) according to eating alone behavior in male and female2)
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This report was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government, NRF-2017R1A2B1009697.

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