A preliminary investigation of yoga as an intervention approach for improving long-term weight loss: A randomized trial

Author: Jessica L Unick1,2, Shira I Dunsiger3, Beth C Bock2,3,4, Sally A Sherman5, Tosca D Braun2,4, Rena R Wing1,2
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America. <sup>2</sup> Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America. <sup>3</sup> Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America. <sup>4</sup> Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America. <sup>5</sup> School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One
Date published: 2022 Feb 4
Other: Volume ID: 17 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: e0263405 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263405. , Word Count: 200

Yoga targets psychological processes which may be important for long-term weight loss (WL). This study is the first to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of yoga within a weight management program following WL treatment.

60 women with overweight or obesity (34.3±3.9 kg/m2, 48.1±10.1 years) were randomized to receive a 12-week yoga intervention (2x/week; YOGA) or a structurally equivalent control (cooking/nutrition classes; CON), following a 3-month behavioral WL program. Feasibility (attendance, adherence, retention) and acceptability (program satisfaction ratings) were assessed. Treatment groups were compared on weight change, mindfulness, distress tolerance, stress, affect, and self-compassion at 6 months. Initial WL (3-mo WL) was evaluated as a potential moderator.

Attendance, retention, and program satisfaction ratings of yoga were high. Treatment groups did not differ on WL or psychological constructs (with exception of one mindfulness subscale) at 6 months. However, among those with high initial WL (≥5%), YOGA lost significantly more weight (-9.0kg vs. -6.7kg) at 6 months and resulted in greater distress tolerance, mindfulness, and self-compassion and lower negative affect, compared to CON.

Study findings provide preliminary support for yoga as a potential strategy for improving long-term WL among those losing ≥5% in standard behavioral treatment.

PMID: 35120162 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263405