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The outcomes of mindfulness-based interventions for Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

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Mercado Daniela Mercado, Lauren Robinson, Gemma Gordon, Jessica Werthmann, Iain C. Campbell, Ulrike Schmidt

Original languageEnglish
Article number105464
Published1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Daniela Mercado is supported by a PhD studentship from the Nacional Commission of Science and Technology ( CONACYT ) awarded by the Mexican government. Iain Campbell, and Ulrike Schmidt receive salary support from the National Institute for Health Research ( NIHR ) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience , King's College London. Ulrike Schmidt is supported by an NIHR Senior Investigator award. The views expressed herein are not those of NIHR or the NHS. Publisher Copyright: © Elsevier Ltd Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Background: Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) for weight loss and overeating-related behaviours have recently gained popularity. Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses included studies of variable quality, which hinders interpretation of results. This meta-analysis examined only randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the efficacy of MBIs with control groups primarily encouraging either dietary or exercise-based behavioural change in individuals with overweight/obesity and/or binge eating disorder (BED). Methods: Using PRISMA guidelines, we systematically reviewed relevant articles in Medline, Psychinfo and EMBASE. Twelve eligible RCTs were identified, with three random-effects meta-analyses conducted on primary outcome measures of body mass (N = 11), mindfulness (N = 7) and BED symptoms (N = 3). Results: MBIs were more efficacious than control in increasing mindfulness scores and decreasing BED symptoms from pre-to post-treatment. However, they were no more efficacious than control in reducing body mass which may be attributed to variability in the duration of interventions. Based on intervention duration, exploratory cumulative meta-analyses revealed that while shorter interventions (i.e., 6 weeks) showed greater reductions in body mass compared to longer interventions (i.e., 24 weeks), longer interventions led to greater improvements in mindfulness scores and BED symptoms. Conclusions: These results highlight the potential of MBIs to improve obesity-related behaviours compared to lifestyle interventions, but their effects on short-term weight loss remain unclear. Future research with a rigorous methodology should consider long-term follow-ups including body mass and mindfulness-related outcome measures in order to establish the clinical potential of MBIs.

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