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Yoga for reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. 

*  HED = Health Education = Health Training (English) 

** METs = Metabolic syndrome = Metabolic Syndrome (English)  


1. Introduction  

34% of American adults have metabolic syndrome (MetS), defined by a group of risk factors including: insulin resistance, hypertension, and obesity. The main causes of METs are due to health-related behaviors, such as unhealthy diets.  



Treatment for adults at risk for metabolic syndrome usually recommends changing such behaviors by adopting new, healthier habits, including increasing physical activity and improving diet, but the result is very limited, and people's adherence to these habits is poor. Furthermore, most existing interventions do not address psychological stress; although chronic psychological stress increases METs, and decreases quality of life, which is lower in this population.  


In a previous publication, we established the feasibility of health education and yoga as a single intervention for people with STDs.  


The objective of this work is to assess perceived stress, related psychological constructs (i.e. mood, perceived well-being competence, and mindful state) and the quality of life as secondary outcomes in a controlled study that compared a yoga program combined with an evidence-based health education program (HED + yoga), AND HED alone, in people at risk for METs. We hypothesized that the yoga program combined with HED would result in reduced stress and improved psychological outcomes and quality of life than an HED program alone.


2. Methods

Attendees. Participants were English speakers, recruited from the Vanderbilt Adult Primary Care Center between June 2013 and January 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, US.  


Inclusion :

Criteria included a standard definition of Metabolic Syndrome: high waist circumference (for men: more than 102 cm; women: more than 88 cm), impaired fasting blood sugar (100-125mg/dL), low blood pressure elevated (systolic ≥ 130 and/or diastolic ≥ 85), or diagnosis of hypertension and dyslipidemia (triglycerides ≥ 150 and/or HDL ≤ 40 in men;

HDL ≤ 50 for women).


Two groups of participants were created:  the yoga + health education group (yoga + HED) received 30-45 minutes of yoga exercises per week, followed by 30-45 minutes of HED; They also received written instructions for practicing yoga at home and for lifestyle change on the content of the HED program.

Participants in HED alone received a standardized HED program matching the attention and time to classes of "  yoga + HED  ". They also received recommendations for lifestyle changes based on HED content. Thus, both groups received essentially the same educational content (HED) to be effective, while one group also received classes in yoga; However, time and attention between the two groups was changed (equalized) by reducing the length of time allocated to HED in the yoga group.




In the Health Education (HED) group, HED participants received 12 weeks of  Group Lifestyle Balance  »,  program, on a comprehensive lifestyle behavior change, adapted directly from the National Institutes of Diabetes Prevention Program, funded by the Ministry of Health. The HED program was carried out by a dietitian and graduate students in dietetics. Diabetes educators offered the Lifestyle group additional community studies. Classes ranged from 60 to 75 minutes to match the time and attention given during  band "  Yoga + HED  ".


The group "  Yoga + HED  » : 

The goals of yoga were to provide low to moderate intensity exercise while increasing cognitive attention span and relaxation. Total class time ranged from 60 to 75 minutes. The classes had two components: yoga and HED. The yoga program consisted of postures, breathing, and meditation based on Krishnamacharya yoga: a tradition in which all movements are coordinated with the breath.

The 12-week program was made up of six serial practices that will be introduced over two weeks (Table 1). The class yoga component initially lasted 30 minutes and gradually increased to 45 minutes over the 12 weeks. The intervention was designed to provide a gradual increase in physical intensity over 12 weeks. Yoga was designed to be taught in group classes followed by individual daily practice at home through written instructions and drawings.

Results :

Intergroup results:

As shown in Table 2, those who have been in the "  yoga + HED  group showed significant and significant improvements in these areas of lost quality of life, compared to those who received "  HED alone  ".

 in the results of the group. 

The paired 𝑡-tests revealed changes in the “  yoga+ HED group  »  for :  perceived health, health competence, physical functioning, general health, energy/fatigue, physical functioning, and mental health.  


Significant changes in the group  HED alone  "were only observed in the "  health skill  »
  (Table 3).



This is the first study in participants at risk for Metabolic Syndrome that has implemented an evidence-based lifestyle intervention, conducted through an exploratory evaluation of the unique effects of yoga, and a practice "  mind-body  on psychological stress and other quality of life factors.


The results revealed significant differences between the groups in the domains of quality of life, role-physics and perception of general health. These preliminary results,

with promising indicators of feasibility reported in a prior publication, commit to further investigation of the potential effectiveness of yoga in improving physical and psychological outcomes in people at risk for METs.





In summary, the results of this exploratory study of yoga, combined with health education, may improve quality of life in adults at risk of METs compared to health education (alone). Although not statistically significant, positive changes in the reduction of perceived stress and mood disturbance were also noted in the group that practiced yoga. These results are important because psychological stress and quality of life matter globally on the burden of mortality.

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Source article: 

Yoga for Risk Reduction of Metabolic Syndrome: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a Randomized Controlled Pilot Study:

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