Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) targeting eating behaviours have gained popularity in recent years. A literature review was conducted to determine the effectiveness of MBIs for treating obesity-related eating behaviours, such as binge eating, emotional eating and external eating. A search protocol was conducted using the online databases Google Scholar, PubMed, PsycINFO and Ovid Healthstar. Papers were required to meet the following criteria to be included in this review: (i) describe a MBI or the use of mindfulness exercises as part of an intervention; (ii) include at least one obesity-related eating behaviour as an outcome; (iii) include quantitative outcomes; and (iv) be published in English in a peer-reviewed journal. A total of N = 21 papers were included in this review. Interventions used a variety of approaches to implement mindfulness training, including combined mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapies, mindfulness-based stress reduction, acceptance-based therapies, mindful eating programmes, and combinations of mindfulness exercises. Targeted eating behaviour outcomes included binge eating, emotional eating, external eating and dietary intake. Eighteen (86%) of the reviewed studies reported improvements in the targeted eating behaviours. Overall, the results of this first review on the topic support the efficacy of MBIs for changing obesity-related eating behaviours, specifically binge eating, emotional eating and external eating.
Keywords: Eating behaviour; literature review; mindfulness; obesity.
© 2014 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2014 International Association for the Study of Obesity.