Mindful Eating and Its Relationship to Body Mass Index and Physical Activity Among University Students
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Mindful eating is conceptualized as being aware in the present moment when one is eating, paying close attention to the senses, including physical and emotional sensations. There are little published data exploring mindful eating in samples of the general population, and no work evaluating the concept in a university setting; thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of mindful eating to BMI and physical activity levels among students at a 4-year university and to assess the potential usefulness of mindful eating interventions in this campus setting. Ninety participants completed the 28-item Mindful Eating Questionnaire, consisting of five subscales (Disinhibition, Awareness, External Cues, Emotional Response, and Distraction) and questions about height, weight, and physical activity. Lower BMI was associated significantly with overall mindful eating. Level of physical activity was not related significantly to overall mindful eating scores; however, students who were more physically active were more likely to lack awareness of their food and to eat in response to negative emotions. These results suggest that mindful eating may be a useful concept to explore further, because the relationships among mindful eating, BMI, and physical activity are not straightforward. A better understanding of these complexities might lead to more effective intervention strategies for addressing overweight and obesity risk in university populations.
KeywordsMindful eating Obesity
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