Mindfulness can ward off childhood obesity

Washington D.C, Jan 22 (ANI): According to a study of connections between the brain and appetite, a team of researchers suggests that teaching mindfulness practices to children could help treat or prevent obesity.

The research suggests that the balance in brain networks in children who are obese is different compared to healthy-weight children, making them more prone to over-eating.

Long-lasting weight loss is difficult; this may be because it requires changes in how the brain functions in addition to changes in diet and exercise. The authors of the study, from Vanderbilt University, say identifying children at risk for obesity early on and using mindfulness approaches to control eating may be one way to approach weight management.

Mindfulness has been shown to increase inhibition and decrease impulsivity. Since obesity and unhealthy eating behaviors may be associated with an imbalance between the connections in the brain that control inhibition and impulse, the researchers say mindfulness could help treat or prevent childhood obesity.

Lead author BettyAnn Chodkowski said that they know the brain plays a big role in obesity in adults, but what they understand about the neurological connections associated with obesity might not apply to children.

The results revealed a preliminary link between weight, eating behavior and balance in brain function. In children who behave in ways that make them eat more, the part of the brain associated with being impulsive appears to be more strongly connected than the part of the brain associated with inhibition.

Conversely, in children who behave in ways that help them avoid food, the part of the brain associated with inhibition is more strongly connected compared to the part of the brain associated with being impulsive.

The study is published in the journal Heliyon. (ANI)

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