Background: Mindfulness is defined as non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. There is some evidence of the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in weight loss. However, this psychological concept has only been rarely explored in observational studies, and no study to date has examined the association between dispositional mindfulness and weight status in a large population-based sample.
Objective: We aimed to examine the relationship between mindfulness scores and weight status in a large sample of the adult general population in France.
Design and methods: A total of 14,400 men and 49,228 women aged ≥18 y participating in the NutriNet-Santé study were included in this cross-sectional analysis. We collected mindfulness data using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire as well as self-reported weight and height. The association between weight status and dispositional mindfulness, as well as its subscales (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reactivity), was assessed using multinomial logistic regression models adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.
Results: Women with higher dispositional mindfulness scores were less likely to be overweight (excluding obesity) (OR quartile 4 vs. 1 = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.79-0.90) and obese (OR quartile 4 vs. 1 = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.65-0.78). In addition, overall, in this group, all subscales were inversely associated with weight status, with the strongest association found for the "observing" subscale. In men, higher mindfulness was associated only with lower odds of obesity (OR quartile 4 vs. 1 = 0.81 (0.69, 0.96)), and only the "observing" and "non-reactivity" subscales were significantly inversely associated with weight status.
Conclusion: Results support the interest of a shift in perspective that takes into account positive psychological and cognitive factors such as dispositional mindfulness in the investigation of obesity and its associated factors.