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20-02-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2018

Mindfulness 6/2018

A Field Experiment Examining Mindfulness on Eating Enjoyment and Behavior in Children

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2018
Auteurs:
Phan Y. Hong, Matthew D. Hanson, David A. Lishner, Shelby L. Kelso, Steven W. Steinert

Abstract

The practice of mindfulness appears effective in promoting adaptive eating patterns in adolescents and adults. However, despite significant data suggesting that maladaptive eating patterns emerge at a very early age, there is a dearth of research examining the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions in promoting healthy eating patterns with young children. Sixty-five children across four school research sites participated in the present experiment to examine whether mindfulness promotes eating enjoyment and diverse eating behaviors in preschool- and early elementary-aged children. Children, ages 3–10 years old, were randomly assigned to a 4-week mindfulness intervention condition or a 4-week exposure, control condition. Each week for 4 days, children received one of four different foods (celery, cauliflower, kidney beans, or garbanzo beans). Children either received instructions to mindfully engage with the food or were given the food and allowed to eat without mindfulness prompts from the researchers. Following each eating exercise, children participants recorded the amount eaten and rated their enjoyment level. Across all sessions and both conditions, group leaders modeled eating behaviors for the children by eating all of the offered food. Results suggested that a brief mindfulness intervention promotes more overall food consumption of typically not preferred and unfamiliar foods (celery, cauliflower, and garbanzo beans) compared with an exposure, control condition. However, food enjoyment ratings did not significantly differ between the two conditions for any of the foods.

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