J Korean Diet Assoc.  2020 Apr;26(2):85-100. 10.14373/JKDA.2020.26.2.85.

Frequency of Eating Alone and Health Related Outcomes in Korean Adults: Based on the 2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • 1Dept. of Medical Nutrition, Graduate School of East-West Medical Nutrition, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea


Eating alone has recently become a very common dietary pattern in modern society. This study investigated the relationship between the frequency of eating alone and health related issues including chronic diseases, depression, and the quality of life (QOL). The 2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey provided the basic data for this study. According to the general analysis of 4,910 adults aged over 19 years or older, the average age in the ‘eating alone’ group was significantly higher (P<0.001), and the ratio of single-person households was significantly higher as the number of times of eating alone increased (P<0.001). Analysis of the relationship between the risk factors of metabolic syndrome according to the number of times eating alone, using logistic regression analysis, showed that the odds ratio of metabolic syndrome in the ‘two times eating alone a day’ group was approximately 1.3 times higher (OR=1.275) after being corrected for gender, age and energy intake. For the ‘three times eating alone a day’ group, the metabolic syndrome odds ratio was higher in all models except for model 1 and 5 (P for trend<0.05). The prevalence of depression using patient health questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was higher as the number of eating alone increased, and the QOL was inversly related with the number of meals eating alone (P for trend<0.01). We hope the results of this study will raise awareness of the health of those people who eat alone and lay the groundwork for individuals who eat alone and gain social attention.


eating alone; adult; metabolic syndrome; depression; PHQ-9; quality of life
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