Development of a Mindful-Eating Intervention Program among Third Through Fifth Grade Elementary School Children and Their Parents
The prevalence of obesity among children in the United States is a major health concern and is associated with increased health risks. The goal of this intervention was to develop and pilot test strategies based on mindful eating practices that foster healthy eating behaviors among elementary school children and their families. Mindful eating practice engages all of ones senses and has been shown to decrease impulsive food decisions and increase awareness of hunger and fullness cues. Using Experiential Learning Theory (ELT), class interventions and take-home activities were developed to teach mindful eating strategies to Hispanic and non-Hispanic 3rd through 5th grade elementary school children and their parents. The results of this research will: 1) contribute to the scientific literature regarding the impact of mindful eating practice on children’s eating behavior, 2) provide an alternate strategy for weight loss and management among children, and 3) provide parents and teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote mindful eating among children and families.