Mind-Body Practice and Body Weight Status in a Large Population-Based Sample of Adults

Am J Prev Med. 2016 Apr;50(4):e101-e109. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.10.005. Epub 2015 Dec 3.


Introduction: In industrialized countries characterized by a high prevalence of obesity and chronic stress, mind-body practices such as yoga or meditation may facilitate body weight control. However, virtually no data are available to ascertain whether practicing mind-body techniques is associated with weight status. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the practice of mind-body techniques and weight status in a large population-based sample of adults.

Methods: A total of 61,704 individuals aged ≥18 years participating in the NutriNet-Santé study (2009-2014) were included in this cross-sectional analysis conducted in 2014. Data on mind-body practices were collected, as well as self-reported weight and height. The association between the practice of mind-body techniques and weight status was assessed using multiple linear and multinomial logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors.

Results: After adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, regular users of mind-body techniques were less likely to be overweight (OR=0.68, 95% CI=0.63, 0.74) or obese (OR=0.55, 95% CI=0.50, 0.61) than never users. In addition, regular users had a lower BMI than never users (-3.19%, 95% CI=-3.71, -2.68).

Conclusions: These data provide novel information about an inverse relationship between mind-body practice and weight status. If causal links were demonstrated in further prospective studies, such practice could be fostered in obesity prevention and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*