Reducing stress levels can aid weight loss

9 March 2015

A new study, presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, suggested that reducing stress levels could help obese and overweight women lose weight.

The research looked at mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and found it can decrease fasting glucose, improving the quality of life in overweight and obese women. MBSR involves focusing on thoughts, feelings and sensations using mindfulness exercises such as breathing awareness.

Developed by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the programme was used in a randomised controlled trial of 86 overweight or obese women who were similar in age and body mass index. 

Dr Nazia Raja-Khan, assistant professor of medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and her team delivered eight weeks of either MBSR or health education control (HEC). In addition, the participants had fasting blood work and completed questionnaires at the start, at eight weeks and at 16 weeks.

"MBSR significantly reduces fasting glucose and improves quality of life without changing body weight or insulin resistance. Increased mindfulness and reduced stress may lead to physiological changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and/or sympathetic nervous system that result in lower glucose levels," said Dr Raja-Khan.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

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