Family-Based Mindful Eating Intervention in Adolescents with Obesity: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Children (Basel). 2018 Jul 6;5(7):93. doi: 10.3390/children5070093.


Mindfulness has gained attention in the treatment of obesity. However, there is a paucity of data on family-based training in mindful eating in children. The objective of this pilot randomized clinical trial was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a family-based mindful eating intervention (MEI) in adolescents with obesity, and to compare the efficacy of the MEI versus standard dietary counseling (SDC) for decreasing weight and improving cardiometabolic risk markers. Twenty-two adolescents (age 14.5⁻17.9 years) and parent pairs were randomized to the MEI or SDC. The MEI was administered in four 90-min sessions over 10 weeks and SDC was provided at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Despite the requirement of more frequent visits with the MEI, adolescents and parents attended 100% of the sessions and there were no dropouts in that group. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased in the SDC group, but not in the MEI group. Adolescents receiving the MEI demonstrated an increase in awareness at 24 weeks (p = 0.01) and a decrease in distraction during eating at 12 weeks (p = 0.04), when compared with the SDC group. The family-based MEI showed feasibility and acceptability in adolescents with obesity. Future studies with more intense therapy and larger sample sizes are warranted to examine the role of mindful eating in treating pediatric obesity.

Keywords: adolescents; mindful eating; obesity.