To examine the association between several eating behaviours and obesity, data were taken from a cross-sectional study conducted with 34 974 individuals aged 25–64 years, representative of the non-institutionalised Spanish population. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. Study associations were summarised with OR obtained from logistic regression, with adjustment for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors. The results showed that those skipping breakfast were more likely to be obese, both in men (OR 1·58; 95 % CI 1·29, 1·93) and women (OR 1·53; 95 % CI 1·15, 2·03). Moreover, obesity was more prevalent in those having only two meals per day than in those having three or four meals in men (OR 1·63; 95 % CI 1·37, 1·95) and women (OR 1·30; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·62). Also, snacking was associated with obesity in women (OR 1·51; 95 % CI 1·17, 1·95). However, no association was observed between obesity and having one or more of the main meals away from home, in either sex. In conclusion, skipping breakfast and eating frequency were associated with obesity. The lack of association between eating away from home and obesity is in contrast to most previous research conducted in Anglo-Saxon countries. Differences in the type of establishment frequented when eating out or in the characteristics of restaurant customers in a Mediterranean population might explain these conflicting results.