Mindfulness and eating behavior in adolescent girls at risk for type 2 diabetes

Bernadette Pivarunas, Nichole R. Kelly, Courtney K. Pickworth, Omni Cassidy, Rachel M. Radin, Lisa M. Shank, Anna Vannucci, Amber B. Courville, Kong Y. Chen, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Jack A. Yanovski, Lauren B. Shomaker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship of dispositional mindfulness to binge eating and associated eating attitudes and behaviors among adolescent girls at risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Methods Participants were 114 overweight or obese adolescents enrolled in a study of girls with a family history of T2D and mild depressive symptoms. Adolescent self-reports of mindfulness, eating in the absence of hunger, and depressive symptoms were collected. An interview was administered to determine presence of binge eating episodes and a behavioral task was used to assess the reinforcing value of food relative to other nonsnack food rewards. Body composition was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results In analyses accounting for race, percent body fat, lean mass, height, age, and depressive symptoms, dispositional mindfulness was associated with a lower odds of binge eating (p = .002). Controlling for the same potential confounds, mindfulness was also inversely associated with eating concern, eating in the absence of hunger in response to fatigue/boredom, and higher food reinforcement relative to physical activity (all p < .05). Discussion In girls with a family history of T2D, independent of body composition and depressive symptoms, intraindividual differences in mindfulness are related to binge eating and associated attitudes and behaviors that may confer risk for obesity and metabolic problems. Further research is needed to determine the extent to which mindfulness plays a role in the etiology and/or maintenance of disinhibited eating in adolescents at risk for T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-569
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • binge eating
  • disordered eating attitudes
  • food reinforcement
  • mindfulness
  • type 2 diabetes


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