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Objective

To determine whether adding mindfulness-based eating and stress management practices to a diet-exercise program improves weight loss and metabolic syndrome components.

Methods

In this study 194 adults with obesity were randomized to a 5.5-month program with or without mindfulness training and identical diet-exercise guidelines. Intention-to-treat analyses with multiple imputation were used for missing data. The primary outcome was 18-month weight change.

Results

Estimated effects comparing the mindfulness to control arm favored the mindfulness arm in (a) weight loss at 12 months, −1.9 kg (95% CI: −4.5, 0.8; P = 0.17), and 18 months, −1.7 kg (95% CI: −4.7, 1.2; P = 0.24), though not statistically significant; (b) changes in fasting glucose at 12 months, −3.1 mg/dl (95% CI: −6.3, 0.1; P = 0.06), and 18 months, −4.1 mg/dl (95% CI: −7.3, −0.9; P = 0.01); and (c) changes in triglyceride/HDL ratio at 12 months, −0.57 (95% CI: −0.95, −0.18; P = 0.004), and 18 months, −0.36 (95% CI: −0.74, 0.03; P = 0.07). Estimates for other metabolic risk factors were not statistically significant, including waist circumference, blood pressure, and C-reactive protein.

Conclusions

Mindfulness enhancements to a diet-exercise program did not show substantial weight loss benefit but may promote long-term improvement in some aspects of metabolic health in obesity that requires further study.