Considering Mindfulness Training for Obesity-Related Eating Behaviors in Children and Adolescents: A Conceptual Review
Gillian A O’Reilly* and David S Black
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- Gillian A O’Reilly
Department of Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: April 17, 2015; Accepted Date: May 08, 2015; Published Date: May 15, 2015
Citation: O’Reilly GA, Black DS (2015) Considering Mindfulness Training for Obesity-Related Eating Behaviors in Children and Adolescents: A Conceptual Review. J Child Adolesc Behav 3:207. doi:10.4172/2375-4494.1000207
Copyright: © 2015 O’Reilly GA et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Obesity in children and adolescents is a major public health problem in the United States. Obesity-related eating behaviors are an important contributing factor to this issue. Youth in the United Stated tend to have unhealthful dietary intake and poor eating habits, such as consumption of large portion sizes, fruit, vegetable, and dietary fiber intake below dietary recommendations, and sugar intake above dietary recommendations. Emotional eating, external eating, and binge eating, behaviors that are linked with excess weight gain, have also been found to occur in youth. Eating behaviors established during the early years of life tend to persist into adulthood, so forming healthful eating habits and relationships with food early in life are important for the current and future health of children and adolescents. However, numerous factors including parenting practices, the food environment at home and outside of the home, and food advertising impart competing influences on eating behaviors in youth. It is essential to arm children and adolescents with skills that help them make healthful dietary choices and develop healthful eating styles in the face of influences that may impede healthful behaviors. Mindfulness training may be a promising approach. A recent systematic literature review by our research group found that mindfulness training programs can improve obesity-related eating behaviors in adults. Research has also shown that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented in child and adolescent populations with promise for improving stress-related and neurocognitive outcomes. The aim of this brief conceptual review is to provide an overview of obesity-related eating behaviors in children and adolescents and suggest how mindfulness training might hold promise as an intervention approach and a way of being to support healthful eating behaviors in the early years of human development.