New research suggests that a treatment called the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may be a successful treatment to lowering fasting glucose in overweight and obese women as well as improve their quality of life. The MBSR program, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is a secular mindfulness meditation program focused on reducing perceived stress. MBSR involves the practice of paying close attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. It is important to do these mindfulness exercises such as breathing awareness in the present moment and in a nonjudgmental and nonreactive mannerism. MBSR has shown to reduce stress and improve the quality of life, and it may also be beneficial in improving the health of overweight and obese women.
Dr. Raja-Khan and colleagues carried out a pilot randomized controlled trial of 86 overweight or obese women similar in age and BMI. The subjects received 8 weeks of MBSR or health education control and completed fasting blood work and questionnaires at 8 weeks and again at 16 weeks. The MBSR group had higher mindfulness scores and lower perceived stressed scores when compares to the health education control group. Both groups experienced improvements in sleep, depression, anxiety, and overall psychological distress. However, fasting glucose drastically dropped and quality of life significantly improves in only the MBSR group.
Dr. Raja Khan further states that this study is very relevant to the general public given the current increasing epidemic of obesity and diabetes. This study conducted by she and her colleagues exhibits that stress management and mindfulness-based interventions such as the MBSR program may benefit the lives of overweight or obese women as they dramatically reduce fasting glucose and improve quality of life. The research supports the method of integrating mindfulness-based intervention programs with conventional medical approaches to prevent and treat obesity and diabetes.
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