A study published in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine has found that people with higher levels of dispositional mindfulness were less likely to be obese.
Dispositional mindfulness is defined as a person’s own awareness of what they are thinking and feeling. A recent study has assessed whether dispositional mindfulness is associated with obesity or adiposity. The amount of dispositional mindfulness was quantified by the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), which is a scale that assesses a person’s awareness and attention to what is taking place in the moment.
The researchers found that people who had low MAAS scores were more likely to be obese when compared to people who had high MAAS scores. In addition, this group of people with low MAAS scores had higher measures of android fat mass (fat around the waist and upper body), compared with the group who had higher MAAS scores. An interesting finding of the study was that people who had become obese in adulthood had lower MAAS scores compared with people who were neither obese in adulthood or childhood.
Overall the study reports an inverse relationship between mindfulness and obesity or adiposity. The authors suggest that further research is warranted to determine whether dispositional mindfulness is indeed a risk factor for obesity. This study provides a potentially modifiable risk factor for obesity, something that can be a target for intervention to continue the fight against the obesity epidemic.
Eric B. Loucks, Willoughby B. Britton, Chanelle J. Howe, Roee Gutman, Stephen E. Gilman, Judson Brewer, Charles B. Eaton, Stephen L. Buka. Associations of Dispositional Mindfulness with Obesity and Central Adiposity: the New England Family Study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2015.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD