Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“scientists have found that practicing mindfulness is associated with changes in the structure and function of the brain as well as changes in our body’s response to stress, suggesting that this practice has important impacts on our physical and emotional health.” –  University of Minnesota

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mentalphysical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children, to adolescents, to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalitiesrace, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Research on mindfulness effects on mental and physical health has exploded over the last few decades. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/ )  Zhang and colleagues reviewed and summarized the randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of the effects of mindfulness-based practices on mental and physical health.

 

They report that the published research studies and meta-analyses found that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in mental health including anxiety, depression, anger, prosocial behavior, loneliness, physiological and psychological indicators of stress, insomnia, eating disorders, addictions, psychoses, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. They also report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in physical health including pain, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), aggression, and violence.

 

In addition, mindfulness-based practices produced safe, cost-effective improvements in professional and healthcare settings, in schools, and in the workplace. Further they report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant changes in the structure and activity of the nervous system, improvements in immune functioning and physiological markers of stress.

 

The review of the published research has provided a compelling case for the utilization of mindfulness-based practices for a myriad of psychological and physical problems in humans of all ages with and without disease. The range and depth of effects are unprecedented making a strong case for the routine training in mindfulness for the improvement of their well-being.

 

So, mindfulness improves physical and mental well-being.

 

engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang, D., Lee, E., Mak, E., Ho, C. Y., & Wong, S. (2021). Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review. British medical bulletin, ldab005. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldab005

 

Abstract

Introduction

This is an overall review on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs).

Sources of data

We identified studies in PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, Web of Science and Google Scholar using keywords including ‘mindfulness’, ‘meditation’, and ‘review’, ‘meta-analysis’ or their variations.

Areas of agreement

MBIs are effective for improving many biopsychosocial conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, addiction, psychosis, pain, hypertension, weight control, cancer-related symptoms and prosocial behaviours. It is found to be beneficial in the healthcare settings, in schools and workplace but further research is warranted to look into its efficacy on different problems. MBIs are relatively safe, but ethical aspects should be considered. Mechanisms are suggested in both empirical and neurophysiological findings. Cost-effectiveness is found in treating some health conditions.

Areas of controversy

Inconclusive or only preliminary evidence on the effects of MBIs on PTSD, ADHD, ASD, eating disorders, loneliness and physical symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory conditions. Furthermore, some beneficial effects are not confirmed in subgroup populations. Cost-effectiveness is yet to confirm for many health conditions and populations.

Growing points

Many mindfulness systematic reviews and meta-analyses indicate low quality of included studies, hence high-quality studies with adequate sample size and longer follow-up period are needed.

Areas timely for developing research

More research is needed on online mindfulness trainings and interventions to improve biopsychosocial health during the COVID-19 pandemic; Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of MBIs integrating both empirical and neurophysiological findings; Long-term compliance and effects of MBIs; and development of mindfulness plus (mindfulness+) or personalized mindfulness programs to elevate the effectiveness for different purposes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/

Maintain Weight Loss with Mindfulness

Maintain Weight Loss with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Just as meditation can help us with stress, sleeping, focus, and much more, it can also have an impact on our relationship with eating and managing our weight.” – Headspace

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment, to emotional states, and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food. External eating is non-homeostatic eating in response to the environmental stimuli that surround us, including the sight and smell of food or the sight of food related cause such as the time of day or a fast-food restaurant ad or sign.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a mindfulness program including meditation, body scan, yoga, discussion and home practice. So, it makes sense to examine MBSR as a part of a weight loss program.

 

In today’s Research News article “Keeping weight off: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction alters amygdala functional connectivity during weight loss maintenance in a randomized control trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799782/ ) Chumachenko and colleagues recruited overweight adults (BMI>25) who had lost at least 5% of their body weight and wished to maintain it off. They were randomly assigned to receive 8, once a week for 1.5 hours, sessions of either a healthy living course or the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for body size, perceived stress, depression, and eating disinhibition. Before and after training they also had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training there was a significant increase in the connectivity between the Amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex while this was decreased after completing the healthy living course. Over the 6-month follow-up period the MBSR participants did not gain weight while the healthy living course participants gained on average 5.9 pounds.

 

These results are interesting and important. There are many dietary programs that produce weight loss. But almost inevitably the weight is regained subsequently. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training was found here to prevent that weight gain. Hence, MBSR may be an important ingredient in weight loss to help maintain the loss. The results also suggest that MBSR may alter the brain, increasing the functional connectivity in brain circuits that are thought to underlie emotion regulation. This fits with the prior findings that mindfulness training improves emotion regulation. This suggests that MBSR may prevent non-homeostatic, emotional, eating by strengthening emotion regulation and thereby prevent weight regain.

 

So, maintain weight loss with mindfulness.

 

By itself, mindful eating is not a weight-loss cure, but as part of an approach or tool it can catapult healthy eating and weight loss,” – Josh Klapow

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chumachenko, S. Y., Cali, R. J., Rosal, M. C., Allison, J. J., Person, S. J., Ziedonis, D., Nephew, B. C., Moore, C. M., Zhang, N., King, J. A., & Fulwiler, C. (2021). Keeping weight off: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction alters amygdala functional connectivity during weight loss maintenance in a randomized control trial. PloS one, 16(1), e0244847. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244847

 

Abstract

Obesity is associated with significant comorbidities and financial costs. While behavioral interventions produce clinically meaningful weight loss, weight loss maintenance is challenging. The objective was to improve understanding of the neural and psychological mechanisms modified by mindfulness that may predict clinical outcomes. Individuals who intentionally recently lost weight were randomized to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or a control healthy living course. Anthropometric and psychological factors were measured at baseline, 8 weeks and 6 months. Functional connectivity (FC) analysis was performed at baseline and 8 weeks to examine FC changes between regions of interest selected a priori, and independent components identified by independent component analysis. The association of pre-post FC changes with 6-month weight and psychometric outcomes was then analyzed. Significant group x time interaction was found for FC between the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, such that FC increased in the MBSR group and decreased in controls. Non-significant changes in weight were observed at 6 months, where the mindfulness group maintained their weight while the controls showed a weight increase of 3.4% in BMI. Change in FC at 8-weeks between ventromedial prefrontal cortex and several ROIs was associated with change in depression symptoms but not weight at 6 months. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence of neural mechanisms that may be involved in MBSR’s impact on weight loss maintenance that may be useful for designing future clinical trials and mechanistic studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799782/

 

Moderate Emotion Effects on the Eating Styles of Obese Women with Mindful Eating

Moderate Emotion Effects on the Eating Styles of Obese Women with Mindful Eating

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“There is so much stigma around weight, and judgement around right and wrong eating behavior, and good and bad food in our culture. Mindful eating fills in gaps in the traditional approach of discussing weight management.” – Lenna Liu

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others. Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments for overweight and obese individuals. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. It is important to identify how mindful eating may alter the eating behaviors of obese individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “The moderating effects of mindful eating on the relationship between emotional functioning and eating styles in overweight and obese women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399674/ ) Czepczor-Bernat and colleagues recruited overweight and obese women and measured them for body size and had them complete measures of emotion regulation, mindful eating, eating styles, and positive and negative emotions. These data were subjected to regression analysis.

 

They found that the higher the level of mindful eating the lower the level of emotional eating and restrictive eating. They also found that the greater the emotion regulation the higher the restrictive eating but this relationship was amplified by mindful eating. In addition, the higher the levels of negative emotions the greater the levels of emotional eating and restrictive eating and again these relationships were moderated by mindful eating

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But the results suggest that mindful eating is associated with better eating styles and it moderates the effects of emotion regulation and negative emotions on eating styles. These results begin to reveal how mindful eating reduces food intake. These results further suggest that training in mindful eating may be particularly beneficial for overweight women who have high levels of negative emotions and low levels of emotion regulation.

 

So, moderate emotion effects on the eating styles of obese women with mindful eating.

 

Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.” –  Healthbeat

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Czepczor-Bernat, K., Brytek-Matera, A., Gramaglia, C., & Zeppegno, P. (2020). The moderating effects of mindful eating on the relationship between emotional functioning and eating styles in overweight and obese women. Eating and weight disorders : EWD, 25(4), 841–849. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00740-6

 

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the current study was to examine the moderating effect of mindful eating on the relationship between emotional functioning and eating styles in overweight and obese women.

Methods

One hundred and eighty four overweight and obese adult women (BMI 30.12 ± 3.77 kg/m2) were assessed with the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire and the Mindful Eating Scale.

Results

Mindful eating significantly moderated several of the relationships between emotional functioning and eating styles. At all levels of mindful eating, emotion dysregulation and negative affect are both associated with greater emotional eating, but with stronger associations for high levels of mindful eating. For people low in mindful eating, both emotion dysregulation and negative affect are associated with lower restrictive eating, and neither of them are associated with uncontrolled eating. For people high in mindful eating, neither emotion dysregulation nor negative affect are associated with restrictive eating, and only negative affect is associated with greater uncontrolled eating.

Conclusion

When mindful eating techniques are included as part of an intervention for overweight or obese individuals, it is even more important that those interventions should also include techniques to reduce emotion dysregulation and negative affect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399674/

 

Improve Obese Individuals’ Ability to Respond Adaptively to Stressors with Mindfulness

Improve Obese Individuals’ Ability to Respond Adaptively to Stressors with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“patients with obesity do better at reducing stress with mindfulness exercises.” – Sharon Basaraba

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to obese individuals. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. Stress responses are blunted and variable in obese individuals. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve the individuals physiological and psychological responses to stress. One of the ways that mindfulness may be effective for obese individuals is by improving their adaptive responses to stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Weight Loss Intervention on Cardiovascular Reactivity to Social-Evaluative Threat Among Adults with Obesity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138245/ ) Daubenmeir and colleagues recruited adults with abdominal obesity (BMI>30) and provided them with a 12-week program of diet and exercise. Half were randomly assigned to also receive mindfulness training similar to the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. In previously reported results, the mindfulness training produced greater improvements in metabolism but non-significant improvements in body weight.

 

In the present study they report the results of studies of the obese participants stress responsivity. They were measured before and after the 12-week diet and exercise training with a social stress test that involved giving a speech and verbally doing math problems while being evaluated by strangers. In addition, cardiovascular factors were measured including the electrocardiogram (EKG), blood pressure and cardiac impedance.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition, the mindfulness trained participants reported that the social stress tasks was a significantly greater positive challenge and produced significantly less anxiety. They also found that the mindfulness group had significantly greater cardiac output and significantly lower total peripheral resistance while the control group had a significant increase in total peripheral resistance.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness training increases the obese individual’s ability to adapt psychologically and physiologically to stress. That mindfulness reduces anxiety and improves adaptation to stress has been previously reported using different evaluation techniques and different participant populations. The present study extends these findings by demonstrating that mindfulness has similar benefits for the obese. Since stress reactivity can be a particular problem for the obese, the improved adaptive responses to stress after mindfulness training may be especially helpful for these individuals.

 

So, improve obese individuals’ ability to respond adaptively to stressors with mindfulness.

 

restricted diets may in fact increase anxiety in obese children. However, practicing mindfulness, as well dieting, may counteract this and promote more efficient weight loss,” – Mardia López-Alarcón

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Daubenmier, J., Epel, E. S., Moran, P. J., Thompson, J., Mason, A. E., Acree, M., Goldman, V., Kristeller, J., Hecht, F. M., & Mendes, W. B. (2019). A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Weight Loss Intervention on Cardiovascular Reactivity to Social-Evaluative Threat Among Adults with Obesity. Mindfulness, 10(12), 2583–2595. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01232-5

 

Objective:

Mindfulness-based interventions have been found to reduce psychological and physiological stress reactivity. In obesity, however, stress reactivity is complex, with studies showing both exaggerated and blunted physiological responses to stressors. A nuanced view of stress reactivity is the “challenge and threat” framework, which defines adaptive and maladaptive patterns of psychophysiological stress reactivity. We hypothesized that mindfulness training would facilitate increased challenge-related appraisals, emotions, and cardiovascular reactivity, including sympathetic nervous system activation paired with increased cardiac output (CO) and reduced total peripheral resistance (TPR) compared to a control group, which would exhibit an increased threat pattern of psychophysiological reactivity to repeated stressors.

Methods:

Adults (N=194) with obesity were randomized to a 5.5-month mindfulness-based weight loss intervention or an active control condition with identical diet-exercise guidelines. Participants were assessed at baseline and 4.5 months later using the Trier Social Stress Task. Electrocardiogram, impedance cardiography, and blood pressure were acquired at rest and during the speech and verbal arithmetic tasks to assess pre-ejection period (PEP), CO, and TPR reactivity.

Results:

Mindfulness participants showed significantly greater maintenance of challenge-related emotions and cardiovascular reactivity patterns (higher CO and lower TPR) from pre to post-intervention compared to control participants, but groups did not differ in PEP. Findings were independent of changes in body mass index.

Conclusions:

Mindfulness training may increase the ability to maintain a positive outlook and mount adaptive cardiovascular responses to repeated stressors among persons with obesity though findings need to be replicated in other populations and using other forms of mindfulness interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138245/

 

Increase Resting Metabolic Rate in Obese Women with Yoga

Increase Resting Metabolic Rate in Obese Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You get to thinking that yoga and its health benefits, such as stress reduction and improved fitness, are best for thin people, and not so much for the 36 percent of U.S. adults who are obese. Not true. Yoga is for all types of shapes and sizes.” – Laura McMullen

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to obese individuals. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga may be particularly beneficial for the obese as it is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss of body weight and improvement in health in the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing between the effect of energy-restricted diet and yoga on the resting metabolic rate, anthropometric indices, and serum adipokine levels in overweight and obese staff women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306236/) Yazdanparast and colleagues recruited healthy adulty overweight and obese women and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weeks of either a balanced restricted diet with a reduction in about 500 Kcal per day or to 5 days per week in class and home weekend practice of 1 hour Hatha yoga practice (estimated to expend 200 Kcal per day) in combination with a balanced restricted diet with a reduction in about 300 Kcal per day. They were measured before and after the 8-week practice period for resting metabolic rate, body size, blood lipids, blood glucose, leptin, and blood adiponectin.

 

They found that after the 8-week intervention both groups had significant reductions in body size and blood leptin levels but the yoga plus diet group also had significant increases in the resting metabolic rate and blood adiponectin levels while the diet alone group did not. On the other hand, the diet only group had a significant reduction in blood high density lipoprotein – cholesterol that did not occur in the yoga plus diet group.

 

These results are particularly interesting because the two groups were estimated to have the same deficit in caloric intake plus expenditure with the diet only group having a 500 Kcal per day reduction in intake while the yoga plus diet group had a 300 Kcal per day reduction in intake along with a 200 KCAL per day increase in expenditure. Hence the differences in the results for the two groups were not due to differences in total energy reduction.

 

This suggests that yoga practice has the extra benefit over diet alone of increasing the resting metabolic rate and blood adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is an anti-inflammatory protein that is secreted by fat cells but is decreased with obesity. The reduction in the yoga group suggests that the yoga practice may produce a reduction in inflammation in the women. Indeed, such a reduction in the inflammatory response produced by yoga practice has been documented previously. A reduction in inflammation is greatly beneficial to the overall health of the women.

 

The reduction in the resting metabolic rate represents the baseline caloric expenditure independent of activity. Hence, its reduction in the yoga group suggests that yoga practice increases energy expenditure all day long regardless of activity, increasing overall expenditure. This should, over time, produce an increased weight reduction. Indeed, the current study and  previous research has found the yoga practice reduces body size.

 

So, Increase Resting Metabolic Rate in Obese Women with Yoga.

 

“The benefits of practice are endless. As a light form of aerobic exercise, yoga can help to alleviate common symptoms of being affected by obesity.” – Laurel Dierking

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yazdanparast, F., Jafarirad, S., Borazjani, F., Haghighizadeh, M. H., & Jahanshahi, A. (2020). Comparing between the effect of energy-restricted diet and yoga on the resting metabolic rate, anthropometric indices, and serum adipokine levels in overweight and obese staff women. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 25, 37. https://doi.org/10.4103/jrms.JRMS_787_19

 

Abstract

Background:

Weight management is an important strategy to prevent the consequences of obesity. The aim of the study was to compare the effect of yoga practice and energy-restricted diet on resting metabolic rate (RMR), anthropometric indices, and serum adiponectin and leptin in overweight and obese women.

Materials and Methods:

Obese or overweight women were divided into two groups: yoga practicing and energy-restricted diet. Exercise trials consisted of 60-min Hatha yoga equal to 200 kilocalories (kcal) combined with 300 kcal restriction per day, and an energy-restricted diet consisted of 500 kcal restriction per day. The intervention period for both the groups was 8 weeks. RMR, anthropometric indices, and serum adiponectin, leptin, and lipid profiles were measured at baseline and at the end of the study.

Results:

RMR was increased in yoga but not in the diet group (P = 0.001). The level of adiponectin was increased in the yoga group compared with the diet (P = 0.035). The concentration of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol was decreased in the diet group significantly but not in yoga (P = 0.006). The level of leptin was decreased in both the groups (P = 0.001), and there were no significant differences between the two groups.

Conclusion:

The findings of the study demonstrated the effect of yoga practicing on RMR, and serum adiponectin, in overweight and obese women. It seems yoga practice with less energy restriction compared with a common energy restriction diet and is more effective in weight management for those who are in weight loss programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306236/

 

Control Binge Eating Disorder with Mindfulness

Control Binge Eating Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Psychotherapy approaches, including DBT, have been shown to be effective in helping a person with binge eating disorder overcome abnormal eating behaviors.” – Jacquelyn Ekern

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder; either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Binge eating disorder involves eating a large amount of food within a short time-period while experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating.

 

Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disordersAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based therapy that has also been shown to alter eating behaviorDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) produces behavior change by focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behavior therapy adapted for binge eating compared to cognitive behavior therapy in obese adults with binge eating disorder: a controlled study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7285554/), Lammers and colleagues  recruited obese (BMI>30) adults who were diagnosed with binge eating disorder and engaged in emotional eating. They were randomly assigned to receive once a week for 20 weeks of either 3.75 hours of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or 2 hours of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They were measured before and after treatment and 6 months later for eating disorders, emotion regulation, general psychopathology, depression, and body size.

 

They found that both groups had reduced eating disorder psychopathology after treatment and 6 months later with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) group having better outcomes with 65% of the patients shifting from dysfunctional to functional at follow-up as compared to 46% for the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group.

 

These results were contrary to the researchers’ expectation that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) would be more efficacious than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). One possible explanation for the superiority of CBT was that it contained a greater amount of therapeutic contact hours, 3.75 hours per week, than DBT, 2 hours per week. But the results clearly show that both treatments were effective in treating binge eating disorder in obese patients with emotional eating.

 

So, control binge eating disorder with mindfulness.

 

Integrating mindfulness techniques in binge eating disorder treatment has been shown to reduce binge eating, improve nutritional outcomes, improve weight management, as well as enhance diabetes management.” – Jacquelyn Ekern

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lammers, M. W., Vroling, M. S., Crosby, R. D., & van Strien, T. (2020). Dialectical behavior therapy adapted for binge eating compared to cognitive behavior therapy in obese adults with binge eating disorder: a controlled study. Journal of Eating Disorders, 8, 27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00299-z

 

Abstract

Background

Current guidelines recommend cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) as the treatment of choice for binge eating disorder (BED). Although CBT is quite effective, a substantial number of patients do not reach abstinence from binge eating. To tackle this problem, various theoretical conceptualizations and treatment models have been proposed. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), focusing on emotion regulation, is one such model. Preliminary evidence comparing DBT adapted for BED (DBT-BED) to CBT is promising but the available data do not favor one treatment over the other. The aim of this study is to evaluate outcome of DBT-BED, compared to a more intensive eating disorders-focused form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT+), in individuals with BED who are overweight and engage in emotional eating.

Methods

Seventy-four obese patients with BED who reported above average levels of emotional eating were quasi-randomly allocated to one of two manualized 20-session group treatments: DBT-BED (n = 41) or CBT+ (n = 33). Intention-to-treat outcome was examined at post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up using general or generalized linear models with multiple imputation.

Results

Overall, greater improvements were observed in CBT+. Differences in number of objective binge eating episodes at end of treatment, and eating disorder psychopathology (EDE-Q Global score) and self-esteem (EDI-3 Low Self-Esteem) at follow-up reached statistical significance with medium effect sizes (Cohen’s d between .46 and .59). Of the patients in the DBT group, 69.9% reached clinically significant change at end of the treatment vs 65.0% at follow-up. Although higher, this was not significantly different from the patients in the CBT+ group (52.9% vs 45.8%).

Conclusions

The results of this study show that CBT+ produces better outcomes than the less intensive DBT-BED on several measures. Yet, regardless of the dose-difference, the data suggest that DBT-BED and CBT+ lead to comparable levels of clinically meaningful change in global eating disorder psychopathology. Future recommendations include the need for dose-matched comparisons in a sufficiently powered randomized controlled trial, and the need to determine mediators and moderators of treatment outcome.

Plain English summary

Binge eating disorder (BED) is mostly treated with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The treatment focusses on reducing efforts to diet. Yet, a substantial number of patients still suffer from binge eating after this treatment. We suggest that patients with BED are better served with a treatment that helps them cope with negative emotions in a healthier way. Dialectical behavior therapy for BED (DBT-BED) is one such treatment. To test this, we compared outcomes of DBT-BED to the intensive CBT program that is common in our treatment center. We did so, in individuals with BED who might especially benefit from DBT-BED: those who are overweight and eat in response to emotions. Greater improvements were observed in the CBT group regarding the number of objective binge eating episodes at the end of treatment, and regarding global eating disorder psychopathology and self-esteem 6 months after treatment. Yet, patients in the CBT group received more therapy hours than in the DBT-BED group, which may have advantaged the CBT treatment. Concurrently, in both groups a comparable percentage of patients showed clinically meaningful changes in global eating disorder psychopathology. In conclusion, our results overall support the intensive CBT program over DBT-BED. Yet, given the fact that DBT-BED is less time-consuming (so cheaper) and presents similar percentages of meaningful change in global eating disorder psychopathology, it is worthwhile to further test the effects of DBT-BED in future studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7285554/

 

Reduce Body Weight and Improve Health in the Obese with Mindfulness

Reduce Body Weight and Improve Health in the Obese with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness practice helps individuals develop skills for self-regulation by improving awareness of emotional and sensory cues, which are also important in altering one’s relationship with food.” – Sunil Daniel

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to obese individuals. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)  involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. This suggests that MBCT may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of mindfulness based cognitive therapy on weight loss, improvement of hypertension and attentional bias to eating cues in overweight people.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7031128/), Alamout and colleagues recruited women who were adult (aged 30-50) and overweight (BMI of 25-30) and randomly assigned them to receive either no treatment or a diet providing 800 Kcal less than their normal intake, or the diet plus once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) along with daily home practice. They were measured before and after treatment and 4 weeks later for body size and blood pressure. Attention bias was measured by asking participants to respond as quickly as they can to words and pictures that were food related or neutral.

 

They found that after the intervention there was a significant reduction in body weight and body mass index in the diet groups in comparison to the no treatment control. But, the groups that received diet plus Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) had significantly greater reductions that were maintained 4 weeks after treatment. Attentional bias toward food cues and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly reduced in the diet plus MBCT group only and these reductions were maintained 4 weeks after treatment.

 

These findings are interesting and potentially significant. Weight loss is difficult to attain and even more difficult to maintain after the cessation of treatment. The findings suggest that the addition of mindfulness training to diet therapy greatly enhances the benefits. It has been previously demonstrated that mindfulness training reduces blood pressure. The reductions in blood pressure observed in the present study suggest that the mindfulness training reduces the responses to stress. It has been shown that stress can promote food intake. So, the reduction in stress responding may make it easier to maintain the diet.

 

The combination of diet and mindfulness training appears to alter how overweight women respond to food related cues. This may, in part, be responsible for the increased effectiveness of diet plus mindfulness training. It may make it easier for the women to refrain from responding to food cues and thereby be better able to stay on the diet. In other words, it makes them less responsive to temptation.

 

So, reduce body weight and improve health in the obese with mindfulness.

 

Adults with overweight or obesity who participated in mindfulness-based intervention experienced at least 3% weight loss that persisted through follow-up, with a reduction in disordered eating behaviors.” – Kimberly Carriere

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Alamout, M. M., Rahmanian, M., Aghamohammadi, V., Mohammadi, E., & Nasiri, K. (2019). Effectiveness of mindfulness based cognitive therapy on weight loss, improvement of hypertension and attentional bias to eating cues in overweight people. International journal of nursing sciences, 7(1), 35–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnss.2019.12.010

 

Abstract

Objectives

Prevalence rates of overweight and obesity are dramatically ever-increasing across the world. Therefore, this study was to evaluate the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on weight loss, hypertension, and attentional bias towards food cues in a group of women affected with this condition.

Methods

A total of 45 participants were selected out of women referring to the Nutrition and Diet Therapy Clinic affiliated to Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran, and then randomized into three groups of 15. The first experimental group was subjected to an energy-restricted diet therapy together with MBCT during 8 sessions, the second group took the diet therapy alone, and the third group received no intervention. Body mass index (BMI), hypertension, and attentional bias towards food cues were correspondingly evaluated before, at the end, and four weeks after the completion of the interventions.

Results

The results of this study revealed that MBCT, along with diet therapy, had been significantly more effective in weight loss, decrease in BMI, lower systolic blood pressure (SBP), and attentional bias towards food cues compared with the diet therapy alone (P ≤ 0.01). MBCT had no significant impact on the decline in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in participants in the follow-up phase.

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that MBCT along with the conventional diet therapy was more effective in weight loss, decrease in BMI, hypertension control, as well as attentional bias towards food cues than the diet therapy alone.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7031128/

 

Improve Body Size, Endocrine Function, and Anxiety in Anxious Obese Children with Mindfulness

Improve Body Size, Endocrine Function, and Anxiety in Anxious Obese Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is a promising tool to be used as an adjunctive therapy for childhood obesity, either because of its potential to decrease stress or because it could counter act the stressful condition imposed by a restrictive dietary regimen,” – Mardia López-Alarcón

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Sadly, children and adolescents have not been spared with 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) classified as obese.

 

Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity in children alone or in combination with other therapies. It would seem reasonable to attack the problem early in life with the children and adolescents. Hence, the benefits of mindfulness practice for obese children should be investigated.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness affects stress, ghrelin, and BMI of obese children: a clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7040861/), López-Alarcón and colleagues recruited obese children and adolescents aged 10-17 years who scored high in anxiety levels and provided them with an 8-week, once a week for a half hour conventional nutritional intervention including recommendations for a 700 Kcal reduction in intake. They were then randomly assigned to receive either no further treatment or to receive an 8-week, once a week for 2 hours Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction-Eat Mindful program based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program consisting on training in meditation, body scan, breathing exercises, mindful eating, and discussions of using mindfulness in everyday life. They were measured before and after the program and 8 weeks later for body size, perceived stress, and anxiety. Blood was drawn and assayed for insulin, cortisol, ghrelin, and leptin and a salivary sample was assayed for cortisol levels.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the nutritional intervention only, the children and adolescents who received mindfulness training had significant reduction in anxiety levels of all forms, including phobias, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety. Also, there were significant reductions in body fat, cortisol, and ghrelin levels. In addition, at the 8- and 16-week follow-ups there were significant reductions in body size.

 

These are exciting results. Childhood obesity is major problem and the results of this study suggests that a mindfulness training program combined with a conventional nutritional intervention is safe and effective in improving the physical and psychological effects of obesity and in reducing body size. Mindfulness interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in adults. But these programs have been found to have only small or mixed effectiveness in the treatment of adult obesity. But the present results suggest that mindfulness interventions may be particularly effective when applied to obese children and adolescents. A long-term follow up of these children is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of mindfulness training.

 

So, improve body size, endocrine function, and anxiety in anxious obese children with mindfulness.

 

We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity,” – Ronald Cowan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

López-Alarcón, M., Zurita-Cruz, J. N., Torres-Rodríguez, A., Bedia-Mejía, K., Pérez-Güemez, M., Jaramillo-Villanueva, L., Rendón-Macías, M. E., Fernández, J. R., & Martínez-Maroñas, P. (2020). Mindfulness affects stress, ghrelin, and BMI of obese children: a clinical trial. Endocrine connections, 9(2), 163–172. https://doi.org/10.1530/EC-19-0461

 

Abstract

Childhood obesity is associated with stress. However, most treatment strategies include only dietary and physical activity approaches. Mindfulness may assist in weight reduction, but its effectiveness is unclear. We assessed the effect of mindfulness on stress, appetite regulators, and weight of children with obesity and anxiety. A clinical study was conducted in a pediatric hospital. Eligible children were 10–14 years old, BMI ≥95th percentile, Spence anxiety score ≥55, and who were not taking any medication or supplementation. Participants were assigned to receive an 8-week conventional nutritional intervention (CNI) or an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention plus CNI (MND-CNI). Anthropometry, body composition, leptin, insulin, ghrelin, cortisol, and Spence scores were measured at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Anthropometry was analyzed again 8 weeks after concluding interventions. Log-transformed and delta values were calculated for analysis. Thirty-three MND-CNI and 12 CNI children finished interventions; 17 MND-CNI children accomplished 16 weeks. At the end of the intervention, significant reductions in anxiety score (−6.21 ± 1.10), BMI (−0.45 ± 1.2 kg/m2), body fat (−1.28 ± 0.25%), ghrelin (−0.71 ± 0.37 pg/mL), and serum cortisol (−1.42 ± 0.94 µg/dL) were observed in MND-CNI children. Changes in anxiety score, ghrelin, and cortisol were different between groups (P < 0.05). Children who completed 16 weeks decreased BMI after intervention (−0.944 ± 0.20 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and remained lower 8 weeks later (−0.706 ± 0.19 kg/m2, P = 0.001). We concluded that mindfulness is a promising tool as an adjunctive therapy for childhood obesity. However, our findings need confirmation in a larger sample population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7040861/

 

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Research has found that seniors who regularly practice tai chi are steadier on their feet, less likely to suffer high blood pressure, and physically stronger.  Tai chi has been known to improve hand/eye coordination, increase circulation, and can even promote a better night’s sleep.” – Chris Corregall

 

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and diabetes. Overweight and abdominal obesity are associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with pulmonary problems and type-2 diabetes. Obesity incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects over a third of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat the health consequences of obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Tai Chi practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function. Tai Chi training has also been shown to improve lung function. These findings are encouraging. But little is known about the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve cardiopulmonary function over the long-term.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/), Sun and colleagues recruited healthy obese adults over 50 years of age (average 66 years) and provided them with a health education training. In addition, half the participants received training in Tai Chi 3 times per week for 30-40 minutes. They were measured before and after training and then every 3 to 6 months over 6 years for blood pressure, body size, cardiac function, and lung function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the health education only group, the Tai Chi group had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index, and significant improvements in cardiac and lung function that were maintained for 6 years. In addition, the Tai Chi  group had lower incidences of health complications, lower mortality, and lower rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

 

These results are exciting and remarkable. It is exceedingly rare to have such long-term follow-up of the effectiveness of an intervention. The results demonstrate that Tai Chi practice can be safely maintained over very long periods of time and produce sustained benefits for the health of the elderly. It’s important to note that Tai Chi is gentle and safe, appropriate for all ages, and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, improve cardiopulmonary health over the long haul in obese elderly with Tai Chi.

 

Practising the ancient martial art of Tai Chi is so beneficial to elderly people’s health that it should be “the preferred mode of training”” – The Telegraph

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sun, L., Zhuang, L. P., Li, X. Z., Zheng, J., & Wu, W. F. (2019). Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study. Medicine, 98(42), e17509. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017509

 

Abstract

To research the possible role of Tai Chi in preventing cardiovascular disease and improving cardiopulmonary function in adults with obesity aged 50 years and older.

Between 2007 and 2012, 120 adults with obesity, aged 50 years and older, were divided into a Tai Chi group and a control group, with 60 participants in each group. The 2 groups were evaluated for weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, blood pressure (BP), body mass index, and incidence of chronic disease during follow-up monitoring.

Two- and 6-year follow-up showed that the average BP in the Tai Chi group along with either the systolic or diastolic pressure decreased significantly compared to those in the control group (P < .001). Waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index in the Tai Chi group were significantly reduced compared to those in the control group (P < .001). The cardiopulmonary function of the control group and the Tai Chi group changed, with the cardiac index significantly higher in the Tai Chi group than in the control group (P < .05). The Tai Chi group had significantly higher levels of lung function, including vital capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and total expiratory time, than the control group. The total incidence of complications and mortality in the Tai Chi group were much lower than those in the control group (P < .001). The incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in the Tai Chi group (16.67%) was lower than that in the control group (38.33%).

Tai Chi is not only a suitable exercise for elderly people with obesity, but it can also help to regulate BP, improve heart and lung function in these individuals, as well as reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, helping to improve their quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/

 

Overweight and Obese Yoga Practitioners have a Higher Quality of Life

Overweight and Obese Yoga Practitioners have a Higher Quality of Life

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Doing yoga decreases stress, improves flexibility, and increases muscle tone and strength. People with larger bodies often have trouble with joint pain; yoga can help by improving the body’s alignment to reduce strain on joints by allowing the frame to bear more of the body’s weight.” – Ann Pizer

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to obese individuals. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga may be particularly beneficial for the obese as it is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetes and improve health in the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Quality of Life in Yoga Experienced and Yoga Naïve Asian Indian Adults with Obesity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515061/), Telles and colleagues recruited overweight and obese (BMI>25) adults (aged 20-59 years) and assessed them for participation in yoga practice and their quality of life, including general self-esteem, enjoyment in physical activities, satisfactory social contacts, satisfaction concerning work, sexual pleasure, and focus on eating behavior.

 

They found that in comparison to non-participants in yoga practice, the yoga participants had significantly higher overall quality of life including higher levels of general self-esteem, enjoyment in physical activities, satisfactory social contacts, and satisfaction concerning work. Hence, participation in yoga practice was found to be associated with significantly higher quality of life in overweight and obese individuals.

 

These findings are correlational and causation cannot be determined. It is possible that yoga practice causes improved quality of life, or that people with high quality of life tend to engage in yoga practice, or that some other factor, e.g. affluence, large social network, results in higher levels of both. Nevertheless, it is clear that practicing yoga is associated with better, more enjoyable lives, that overweight and obese yoga practitioners have a higher quality of life.

 

“’I think yoga can be a wonderful form of movement that bigger-bodied people can adapt for themselves.’ For folks carrying more weight, low-impact exercises like yoga may be more comfortable than, say, running on the pavement.” – Laura McMullen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Telles, S., Sharma, S. K., Singh, A., Kala, N., Upadhyay, V., Arya, J., & Balkrishna, A. (2019). Quality of Life in Yoga Experienced and Yoga Naïve Asian Indian Adults with Obesity. Journal of obesity, 2019, 9895074. doi:10.1155/2019/9895074

 

Abstract

Background

Obesity adversely affects quality of life which then acts as a barrier to weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Hence, those interventions which positively influence the quality of life along with weight reduction are considered useful for sustained weight loss in persons with obesity. An earlier study showed better quality of life in obese adults who had experience of yoga compared to yoga naïve obese adults. However, the main limitation of the study was the small sample size (n=20 in each group).

Objective

The present study aimed to determine whether with larger sample sizes the quality of life would differ in yoga experienced compared to yoga naïve adults with obesity.

Methods

There were 596 Asian Indian obese adults (age range 20 to 59 years; group mean age ± SD; 43.9 ± 9.9 years): of whom (i) 298 were yoga experienced (154 females; group mean age ± SD; 44.0 ± 9.8 years) with a minimum of 1 month of experience in yoga practice and (ii) 298 were yoga naïve (154 females; group mean age ± SD; 43.8 ± 10.0 years). All the participants were assessed for quality of life using the Moorehead–Ardelt quality of life questionnaire II. Data were drawn from a larger nationwide trial which assessed the effects of yoga compared to nutritional advice on obesity over a one-year follow-up period (CTRI/2018/05/014077).

Results

There were higher participant-reported outcomes for four out of six aspects of quality of life in the yoga experienced compared to the yoga naïve (p < 0.008, based on t values of the least squares linear regression analyses, Bonferroni adjusted, and adjusted for age, gender, and BMI as covariates). These were enjoyment in physical activities, ability to work, self-esteem, and social satisfaction.

Conclusion

Obese adults with yoga experience appear to have better quality of life in specific aspects, compared to yoga naïve persons with a comparable degree of obesity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515061/