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Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Date:8/27/2009

Body awareness plays a key role in weight maintenance, researchers say,,,,

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Practicing yoga regularly may help your eating habits so you can maintain a healthier weight, a new study says.

Researchers at the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported a link between yoga practitioners and "mindful eaters," people who were better aware of their feelings of hunger and fullness and why they ate. These mindful eaters, as opposed to those who ate regardless of hunger or to soothe anxiety or depression, tended to be less likely to be obese, the study found. Results are published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

"Mindful eating is a skill that augments the usual approaches to weight loss, such as dieting, counting calories and limiting portion sizes," study leader Alan Kristal, associate head of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Hutchinson Center, said in a news release from the center. "Adding yoga practice to a standard weight-loss program may make it more effective."

The study was based on analysis of a questionnaire about mindful eating habits (such as being distracted by other things while eating or responding to emotional situations with food) and other health- and exercise-related factors that was completed by more than 300 people at Seattle-area yoga, fitness and weight-loss facilities. Though the average weight of the participants was within normal ranges, people who practiced yoga tended to have a noticeably lower body mass index than those who didn't, with the average being 23.1 versus 25.8, respectively.

The findings support earlier research by Kristal that found that regular yoga helped middle-age people gain less weight over a 10-year period than non-yoga practitioners, regardless of other physical activity and eating patterns.

Although about half of the new study's participants al
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