Night eating syndrome and emotional states in university students


  • Karina Moraes Borges Faculdade de Medicina do ABC Santo André, SP, Brasil/Faculdade de Juazeiro do Norte Juazeiro do Norte, CE,
  • Francisco Winter dos Santos Figueiredo Faculdade de Medicina do ABC - Santo André, SP
  • Ricardo Peres do Souto Faculdade de Medicina do ABC - Santo André, SP



Feeding and Eating Disorders, Students, Depression, Anxiety, Psychological Stress


Introduction: University students are exposed to many factors related to Night Eating Syndrome (NES), an eating disorder that may be associated with obesity.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of NES among students from a Brazilian university and evaluate the association of syndrome behaviours with emotional, biological, and environmental factors.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 200 students from a private higher education institution located in the city of Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, Brazil. NES was evaluated using the Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ), considering the NEQ score ≥ 25 as the cut-off value for indication of the syndrome. Depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were assessed using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) questionnaire. Additional information was collected about the participants (gender, age, weight, and height), their academic status (enrolled course, study period, and year), and their employment status (whether the participant worked at least four h daily in addition to studying).

Results: 30 participants (15.0%) presented NEQ scores ≥ 25, indicative of NES. There was no association between the NEQ score and other variables: gender, nutritional status, work, enrolled course, study period, and academic year. There was an association between NEQ score and severity of depression (p=0.0001), anxiety (p=0.0001), and stress (p=0.0218).

Conclusion: Evidence of a high prevalence of NES was found among Brazilian university students, as well as an association between the behaviours of the syndrome with depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms was found.


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