Mindfulness may decrease obesity risk in individuals

PTI
Published Oct 22, 2015, 12:59 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 9:50 am IST
It is more of an inherent personality trait, though it can also be taught
 
Washington: People with a high degree of attention to their present thoughts and feelings are less likely to be obese and have lower belly fat than those who do not pay attention to the present, a new study has claimed. The study of nearly 400 people found that those who exhibited more "dispositional mindfulness," or awareness of and attention to their current feelings and thoughts, were less likely to be obese and had less abdominal fat than people who did not exhibit as much of that awareness.
 
Dispositional mindfulness is not the same as mindfulness meditation, in which people make a conscious, focused practice of attending to their current state and sensations. Instead, it is more of an inherent personality trait, though it can also be taught. "This is everyday mindfulness. The vast majority of these people are not meditating," said lead author Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health.
 
The study looked at how 394 people in the New England Family Study (NEFS) scored on the six-point Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). The research team's analysis found that even after adjusting for a multitude of possible confounding factors (eg, age, smoking, socioeconomic status), people with MAAS scores below four were 34 per cent more likely to be obese than people with a score of six.
 
People with the lower MAAS scores had, on average, a bit more than a pound of belly fat (448 grammes) than people with the high score. Both of these results were statistically significant, researchers said. Among the study's findings is that people who were not obese as children but have become so as adults were significantly more likely to be low MAAS scorers. The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine.
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