Thomaseo Burton, PhD, and Webb Smith, PhD, of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center have developed a novel intervention in the home kitchen to address obesity. The intervention, called 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 is comprised of 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 is comprised of 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.