Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN)


Nutrition & Dietetics

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Dr. Andrea Arikawa

Second Advisor

Dr. Lauri Wright

Rights Statement


Third Advisor

Dr. Jenifer Ross

Department Chair

Dr. Lauri Wright

College Dean

Dr. Curt Lox


American children’s diets are commonly recorded as deficient in nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Such diets often exceed amounts of unhealthy items such as added sugars and sweetened beverages. In addition, 23% of children are considered overweight or obese. Mindfulness techniques in parents have been correlated with improved dietary outcomes in children and a healthier family eating environment.

The primary aim of this study was to develop and validate an instrument that reflects the theoretical framework drawn from current models of mindful eating, mindful parenting and mindful food parenting. The instrument is a practical tool that seeks to measure mindful food parenting. The tool is closely related to parental actions that can create an internal and external environment conducive to mindful eating in children ages 4 to 8 years old. The final version of the mindful food parenting instrument (MFPI) includes three components: bringing mindful awareness to eating experience; creating awareness of the hunger and fullness experience; and cultivating awareness of parent and child emotions and reactivity to emotions.

Validation of the instrument consisted of a series of steps and included experts and parents review of questions for clarity and understanding. Content validity and reliability tests involved two sets of parents. Additionally, the current study explored the relationship between the components of the mindful food parenting model and young children’s dietary outcomes. Results showed a good content validity and reliability for the instrument. Furthermore, results showed a correlation between mindful food parenting and children’s dietary outcomes. In conclusion, results from this study suggest that the MFPI is an adequate tool to measure mindful food parenting. Additionally this tool has the potential to measure mindful food parenting interventions.