Mindful eating could help curb obesity

Encouraging people to be mindful of what they are eating rather than responding to their emotions could be key in the battle against obesity.

This is the discovery of research set to be presented today (8 May 2014) at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Birmingham.

University of East London MSc student Ioanna Koptsi recruited 42 women and 33 men and asked them to complete questionnaires on their eating habits and mindful reflection.

Seven per cent of the subjects were underweight, 63 per cent were normal weight, 28 per cent were overweight and one per cent was obese.

It was found that the more aware of their eating behaviour the participants were, the less likely they were to respond to their emotions when selecting what food to eat and how much and the more likely they were to maintain a healthy body mass index.

"The link between food consumption and psychological wellbeing seems more complex than the direct relationship of hunger and eating. The principles of mindful eating can be easily learned and these should be incorporated into current clinical and research practices," commented Ms Koptsi.

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