Fighting Obesity Family Style with MEALS

Thomaseo Burton, PhD, and Webb Smith, PhD, have developed a novel intervention to address obesity in the kitchen. The intervention, Multidisciplinary Engagement and Learning/Mindful Eating and Active Living (MEALS), combines mindfulness, cooking techniques and education to teach children and their caregivers how to make healthier meals and engage in mindful eating. This program comprises education, cooking and discussion sessions that are tailored to fit the largely African-American and under-resourced communities served by the Healthy Lifestyle Clinic.

This intervention is unique compared to traditional clinical management, which usually comprises counseling without an experiential component. MEALs also takes barriers to healthy eating, such as cost, time, wariness of new foods and access to ingredients, into consideration by using low-cost ingredients and familiar recipes.

Following the pilot program, the facilitators plan to assess the impact of the intervention by measuring participant characteristics (anthropometric measurements and vital signs), caregiver feedback (surveys) and youth feedback (surveys), with the hope of seeing meaningful improvement in participants’ health and well being.

Burton ET, Smith WA. Mindful Eating and Active Living: Development and Implementation of a Multidisciplinary Pediatric Weight Management Intervention. Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1425. Published 2020 May 14. doi:10.3390/nu12051425

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