Overweight and obesity increase risk for chronic disease including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Therefore, weight loss is an important component of cancer and chronic disease prevention efforts . Mindfulness has received a lot of attention in recent years as a strategy for managing thoughts, feelings and achieving behaviour change .
The current review aims to determine the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in terms of reductions in and maintenance of weight.
A comprehensive search of the PubMed, PsycInfo, Medline and CINAHL databases was conducted in order to identify studies examining weight related outcomes of mindfulness interventions. Records had to contain a mindfulness term, an intervention term and a weight-related term in order to be identified by the search. Studies were also required to be published in English and involving adult participants to meet criteria for inclusion. Of 1578 records, 17 studies met the inclusion criteria for the current review and two articles were sourced from reference lists of included studies.
Interventions reviewed included mindfulness-based stress reduction, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindful eating strategies. Approximately half of the interventions reviewed included a control group. Results indicate promise of mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss in adults. However, the amount of weight loss was modest in most cases.
Small reductions in weight are likely to be associated with substantial reductions in cancer risk . Although weight loss is complex and often difficult to achieve mindfulness interventions provide a useful strategy for adults wanting to lose small amounts of weight or prevent weight gain. Further research is needed to compare different mindfulness approaches to weight loss such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy interventions to determine which approaches are likely to be most effective.