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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPurpose: The purpose of this DNP project is to determine the efficacy of a mindful eating mobile application in decreasing unhealthy eating and binge eating habits, promoting healthy eating behaviors and increasing mindfulness during eating in college adult graduate students in the College of Nursing. Background: The collegiate population is known for developing unhealthy eating habits consisting of skipping meals, binge eating, and stress eating that can cause a negative impact in students’ health. Nurses have been identified at high risk for poor self-care, thus nursing students are an extremely vulnerable population. Mindful eating is an emerging practice that is effective in combatting eating disorders, binge eating symptoms, and weight loss. With the emergence of mobile health apps, and over 99% of college students utilizing health apps, a mindful eating mobile application intervention may be a solution in aiding students develop healthier eating habits. Methods: Following a review of mindful eating computer applications the Am I Hungry? mindful eating computer was chosen for its compatibility with mindful eating principles and ease of use. A baseline survey including demographics, mindful eating questionnaire (MEQ) and binge eating scale (BES) were given to participants prior to the introduction of the intervention. Participants utilized a mindful eating mobile application, Am I Hungry? for six weeks. Post-surveys were emailed at the end of six-week period assessing the MEQ and BES scores as well as questions evaluating frequency of use and perceived usefulness of the mobile app. Outcomes achieved: 38 students participated in the pre-survey and 24 students were retained completing the six-week intervention and responded to the post-survey. Surprisingly, 100% of all student participants BES scores >17 consistent with moderate binge eating behaviors and 54% student participants BES scores >27 consistent with severe binge eating behaviors. As anticipated there was inverse relationship between binge eating and mindful eating demonstrated by strong a negative correlation between BES and MEQ with R=-0.4519; R2=0.2042. Overall, participants’ mean MEQ scores increased from 2.75 to 2.84, while mean BES scores decreased from 28.21 to 25.54 following the six-week intervention. De-identified results were shared with participants and faculty to increase awareness of student risk for binge eating and the potential of employing mindful eating computer application to promote healthy eating. Conclusion: The mindful eating mobile application decreased binge eating habits in the students over a six-week period, and provided a small increase in overall mindful eating. Further investigations should include comparing outcomes to in-person mindful eating classes, studying differing health care student populations, longer term follow-up and identifying binge eating risk factors. Specifically methods have been shared with a junior nurse practitioner project investigator planning to replicate this study. Emphasizing the importance of self-care to nursing students has the potential to improve their self-care while exposing them to the potential of employing a mobile application to promote health.
Degree ProgramGraduate College