NIGHT EATING SYNDROME AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH BODY MASS INDEX AMONG FEMALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Introduction: Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is an eating disorder which is a combination of excessive eating at night and sleep problem. This study aimed to identify prevalence of NES, its association with body mass index (BMI) and the type of foods frequently consumed at late night among female university students. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a total of 120 female university students from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuantan. Participants were required to answer Night Eating Questionnaires (NEQ) and food consumption at late night questionnaire. Statistically significant value was set at p<0.05. Results: Prevalence of NES among the participants was 4.2%. Mean difference of NEQ score with the cut off score for NES identification was statistically significant (p=0.001). There was no significant association between NEQ score and BMI (p=0.606). The most preferred type of food consumed at late night was instant noodles (n=63, 52.5%), followed by chocolate (n=61, 50.8%) and biscuits with cream fillings (n=44, 36.7%). In conclusion, the prevalence of NES is relatively low and has no association with BMI among female university students. However, eating habits at late night should be of concern as unhealthy food choices could lead to unhealthy weight gain. Conclusion: This study provides further insight on NES specifically among female university students. Our study is at the forefront in demonstrating types of food consumed at late night in this group; which can potentially contribute to increased prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.