Associations between yoga/meditation use, body satisfaction and weight management methods: Results of a national cross-sectional survey of 8009 Australian Women

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Journal Article
Nutrition, 2017, 34 pp. 58 - 64
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Objectives To analyse whether yoga use is associated with body (dis)satisfaction and weight control methods in Australian women. Research Methods & Procedures Women aged 34-39 years from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) were surveyed regarding body satisfaction, weight control behaviours, and yoga practice. Associations of body satisfaction and weight control methods with yoga practice were analysed using chi-squared tests and multiple logistic regression modelling. Results Of the 8009 women, 49% were overweight or obese. Sixty-five percent of women with normal BMI and approximately 95% of women with overweight/obesity wanted to lose weight. At least one in four women with normal BMI was dissatisfied with body weight and shape, as were more than two in three women with overweight/obesity. The most common weight control methods included exercising (82.7%), cutting down meal sizes (76.8%), and cutting down sugars or fats (71.9%). Yoga was practiced frequently by 688 (8.6%) and occasionally by 1176 (14.7%) women. Yoga users with normal BMI were less likely dissatisfied with body weight and shape. All yoga users more likely exercised, followed a low glycaemic diet or diet books; and women with obesity occasionally using yoga also more likely used fasting or smoking to lose weight. Conclusion Yoga users with normal BMI appear to be more satisfied with their body weight and shape than non-yoga users. While women with normal BMI or overweight tend to rely on healthy weight control methods, women with obesity occasional using yoga may more likely utilise unhealthy weight control methods.
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