Eat for life: a work site feasibility study of a novel mindfulness-based intuitive eating intervention

Am J Health Promot. 2014 Jul-Aug;28(6):380-8. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.120404-QUAN-186. Epub 2013 Aug 13.


Purpose: To examine the efficacy of a novel intervention for problematic eating behaviors and body dissatisfaction.

Design: Participants enrolled in the intervention or waitlist comparison group were assessed at pre and post 10 weeks.

Setting: Midwestern university.

Subjects: One hundred twenty-four female employees or partners/spouses.

Intervention: Eat for Life is a 10-week group intervention integrating mindfulness and intuitive eating skills.

Measures: Self-report questionnaires included the Intuitive Eating Scale, Body Appreciation Scale, Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnoses, and an author-constructed supplemental and demographic questionnaire.

Analysis: Analyses of covariance and ordinal regression measured group differences. Structural equation modeling examined mediation effects. Results . Significant differences between groups were observed for body appreciation (F1,121 = 40.17, p = .000, partial eta squared = .25), intuitive eating (F1,121 = 67.44, p = .000, partial eta squared = .36), and mindfulness (F1,121 = 30.50, p = .000, partial eta squared = .20), with mean scores significantly higher in the intervention group than waitlist comparison group after 10 weeks. The intervention group was 3.65 times more likely to be asymptomatic for disordered eating than the comparison group. Mindfulness served as a partial mediator.

Conclusion: The study provides support for an intervention combining intuitive eating and mindfulness for treatment of problematic eating behaviors and body dissatisfaction, with limitations including self-selection and lack of active control group.

Keywords: Eating Issues, Mindfulness, Body Appreciation, Mindful Eating, Intuitive Eating, Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research; Health focus: nutrition and stress management; Outcome measure: cognitive and behavioral; Research purpose: intervention testing/program evaluation; Setting: workplace; Strategy: education and skill building/behavior change; Study design: quasi-experimental; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: education, geographic location, and race/ethnicity.

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Eating*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Occupational Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome