Purpose: To evaluate whether dispositional mindfulness (defined as the ability to attend nonjudgmentally to one's own physical and mental processes) is associated with obesity and central adiposity.
Methods: Study participants (n = 394) were from the New England Family Study, a prospective birth cohort, with median age 47 years. Dispositional mindfulness was assessed using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Central adiposity was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans with primary outcomes android fat mass and android/gynoid ratio. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥30 kg/m(2).
Results: Multivariable-adjusted regression analyses demonstrated that participants with low vs. high MAAS scores were more likely to be obese (prevalence ratio for obesity = 1.34 (95 % confidence limit (CL): 1.02, 1.77)), adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, birth weight, childhood socioeconomic status, and childhood intelligence. Furthermore, participants with low vs. high MAAS level had a 448 (95 % CL 39, 857) g higher android fat mass and a 0.056 (95 % CL 0.003, 0.110) greater android/gynoid fat mass ratio. Prospective analyses demonstrated that participants who were not obese in childhood and became obese in adulthood (n = 154) had -0.21 (95 % CL -0.41, -0.01; p = 0.04) lower MAAS scores than participants who were not obese in childhood or adulthood (n = 203).
Conclusions: Dispositional mindfulness may be inversely associated with obesity and adiposity. Replication studies are needed to adequately establish whether low dispositional mindfulness is a risk factor for obesity and adiposity.
Keywords: Adiposity; Epidemiology; Mindfulness; Obesity; Prevention.