Honors Theses and Capstones


Mindful Eating and Metabolic Syndrome Among UNH College Students

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Program or Major

Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

First Advisor

Maggie Dylewski Begis

Second Advisor

Jesse Stabile Morrell


Mindful eating, defined as non-judgmental awareness of food intake, is a treatment strategy for weight regulation and may be related to cardiometabolic health. The primary objective of this study was to explore the relationship between mindful eating and metabolic syndrome (Mbs) among college students. Subjects (n=142; 66% female) were recruited in Fall 2019 from the College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey, an ongoing cross-sectional study examining the health of young adults. Students completed a Mindful Eating Questionnaire (MEQ), a 28-item validated tool adapted from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The MEQ assesses 5 subscales (disinhibition, awareness, external cues, emotional response, distraction); higher scores (1-4) indicate a higher degree of mindful eating. Subjects were evaluated for meeting 5 Mbs criteria. Data are reported as frequencies or means±SD. ANOVA was used to assess group differences. Total MEQ scores were similar between men and women (2.79±0.26 vs. 2.81±0.26, p=.30). All subjects scored the highest in the MEQ emotional category and lower in the external and awareness categories. No differences among MEQ categories were observed between men and women (all p>0.05). No differences in total MEQ scores were observed between students with 0 Mbs criteria (44%), 1 Mbs criteria (44%,), or 2 Mbs criteria (12%) (p=0.77). More research is needed to further explore the applications of mindful eating in this population.

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