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Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity-related eating behaviours: a literature review

Authors

  • G. A. O'Reilly,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
    • Address for correspondence: Ms. GA O'Reilly, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd floor, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA.

      E-mail: goreilly@usc.edu

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  • L. Cook,

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
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  • D. Spruijt-Metz,

    1. Center for Economic and Social Research, University of Southern California Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Los Angeles, USA
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  • D. S. Black

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
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Summary

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.

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