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Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Lui, Edmund

Ed. by Ko, Robert / Leung, Kelvin Sze-Yin / Saunders, Paul / Suntres, PH. D., Zacharias

CiteScore 2017: 1.41

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.472
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.564

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Effect of mindfulness meditation on short-term weight loss and eating behaviors in overweight and obese adults: A randomized controlled trial

Kathleen C. Spadaro / Kelliann K. Davis / Susan M. Sereika
  • Department of Heath and Community Systems and Center for Research and Evaluation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Bethany B. Gibbs / John M. Jakicic
  • Department of Health and Physical Activity, Director of Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Susan M. Cohen
  • Department of Promotion and Development, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-12-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2016-0048



There is a significant health crisis with rates of obesity continuing to increase despite research and clinical standard behavioral weight loss programs (SBWP). Mindfulness meditation (MM), with demonstrated benefits on physical, psychological health, and self-regulation behaviors was explored with SBWP.


Forty-six adults (BMI=32.5±3.7 kg/m2; age=45.2±8.2 years, 87 % female, 21.7 % African American) were randomly assigned to a 6-month SBWP only (n=24) or SBWP+MM (n=22) at a university-based physical activity and weight management research center in a northeastern US city. Participants were instructed to decrease intake (1200–1500 kcal/day), increase physical activity (300 min/wk), and attend weekly SBWP or SBWP+MM sessions. SBWP+MM had the same SBWP lessons with addition of focused MM training. Outcome measures collected at 0, 3, and 6 months included: weight, Block Food Frequency Questionnaire, Eating Behavior Inventory, Eating Inventory and Paffenbarger Physical Activity Questionnaire. Data were analyzed using linear mixed modeling for efficacy analysis of weight (primary) and eating, exercise and mindfulness (secondary outcomes).


Retention rate was 76.1 % (n=35). A significant group by time interaction (p=0.03) was found for weight, with weight loss favoring SBWP+MM (−6.9 kg+2.9) over SBWP (−4.1 kg+2.8). Eating behaviors (p=0.02) and dietary restraint (p=0.02) improved significantly in SBWP+MM, compared to SBWP. MM enhanced weight loss by 2.8 kg potentially through greater improvements in eating behaviors and dietary restraint.


These findings support further study into the use of MM strategies with overweight and obese adults. The use of this low-cost, portable strategy with standard behavioral interventions could improve weight management outcomes.

Keywords: behavioral weight loss; eating behaviors; mindfulness meditation; obesity


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About the article

Received: 2016-05-27

Accepted: 2017-11-01

Published Online: 2017-12-05

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: University of Pittsburgh, Department of Health and Physical Activity, Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Author John M. Jakicic, PhD has received research grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association in the past.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

Citation Information: Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Volume 15, Issue 2, 20160048, ISSN (Online) 1553-3840, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2016-0048.

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