Testing a mobile mindful eating intervention targeting craving-related eating: feasibility and proof of concept

Categories Research


This study showed that Eat Right Now reduces craving related eating by 40%. It is the first to show that an app-based mindfulness training can decouple craving and eating (and reduce eating in response to negative emotions by 36%).

Link to press release summary.



Theoretically driven smartphone-delivered behavioral interventions that target mechanisms underlying eating behavior are lacking. In this study, we administered a 28-day self-paced smartphone-delivered intervention rooted in an operant conditioning theoretical framework that targets craving-related eating using mindful eating practices. At pre-intervention and 1-month post-intervention, we assessed food cravings among adult overweight or obese women (N=104; M age=46.2±14.1 years; M BMI=31.5±4.5) using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) via text message (SMS), self-reported eating behavior (e.g., trait food craving), and in-person weight. Seventy-eight participants (75.0%) completed the intervention within 7 months (‘all completers’), and of these, 64 completed the intervention within 3 months (‘timely completers’).

Participants experienced significant reductions in craving-related eating (40.21% reduction; p<.001) and self-reported overeating behavior (trait food craving, p<.001; other measures ps<.01). Reductions in trait food craving were significantly correlated with weight loss for timely completers (r=.30, p=.020), this pattern of results was also evident in all completers (r=.22, p=.065). Taken together, results suggest that smartphone-delivered mindful eating training targeting craving-related eating may (1) target behavior that impacts a relative metabolic pathway, and (2) represent a low-burden and highly disseminable method to reduce problematic overeating among overweight individuals.



Mason, A. E., Jhaveri, K., Cohn, M., Brewer, J. A., (2018), Journal of Behavioral Medicine 41(2): 160-73.


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