Research Findings: Early childhood is a critical period for the development of eating behaviors and novel approaches are needed to promote healthy food acceptance among preschoolers. This pilot study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a 6-week mindful eating and yoga intervention targeting children’s self-regulation of eating and behavior and sought to identify associations between executive function (EF) and child eating behaviors. Forty-three children (3–5 years old) participated in this quasi-experimental pretest/posttest design with 24 children in the intervention group and 19 in the comparison group. All children participated in direct assessments of inhibitory control and energy self-regulation; parents reported on children’s EF and eating behaviors. Fidelity logs showed that the curriculum lessons were implemented as expected, although there were unanticipated issues with child attendance and engagement. Intervention participants demonstrated significant increases in inhibitory control, with greater effects among children who scored lower at pretest. Intervention effects were not found for other measures. Parent-report data indicated significant correlations between facets of EF and eating behaviors. Practice or Policy: Preliminary findings demonstrate that mindfulness-based interventions have potential to promote children’s behavioral self-regulation. Additional research is needed to understand how these programs can be expanded to impact child eating behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology