Healthy Lifestyle · Mind · Obesity

Mindfulness Can Help Prevent Obesity in Children

Mindfulness Can Help Prevent Obesity in ChildrenA new study suggests that children who are obese and healthy-weight children differ in balance when it comes to brain networks. Obese children are more predisposed to eat more than what their bodies can handle. Studies show that mindfulness can escalate self-consciousness and reduce the tendency to act on sudden urges or desires. According to researchers from Vanderbilt University at Nashville in the US, obesity and unhealthy eating behaviors are related to the imbalance between the connections in the brain that control inhibition and impulse.

In the research published in the journal Heliyon, lead author Betty Ann Chodkowski, was quoted saying “We know the brain plays a big role in obesity in adults, but what we understand about the neurological connections associated with obesity might not apply to children. We wanted to look at the way children’s brains function in more detail so we can better understand what is happening neurologically in children who are obese.” The researchers suggest that early detection and mindfulness can help prevent obesity in children.

A French NutriNet-Santé study conducted in December 2015 revealed that the risk of obesity can be reduced by 50% through regular meditation. A good form of meditation that can effectively prevent and treat obesity in children is mindfulness. This effect of mindfulness in childhood obesity is supported by a new research from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Tennessee.

According to Dr. Kevin Niswender and Dr. Ronald Cowan, the brains of obese children and children of healthy weight function differently. This is the reason obese children have the tendency to eat too much. When brain connections that control the inhibition and impulses in children are not normally balanced, it can lead to poor eating habits and eventually lead to obesity. The result of the study prompted the researchers to consider that mindfulness would be beneficial to deal with obesity, and that it can help stabilize the balance of brain function.

The researchers disclosed that by enhancing the awareness of their thoughts and actions, the imbalance in the brain function can be corrected. In today’s society, obesity among children increases radically but this probe that revealed that mindfulness can help prevent obesity in children offers a light of hope.

Dr. Kevin Niswender of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said, “Adults and especially children are primed towards eating more. This is great from an evolutionary perspective — they need food to grow and survive. But in today’s world, full of readily available, highly advertised, energy dense foods, it is putting children at risk of obesity.”

In the research conducted, 38 children ranging from 8 to 13 years old were examined using MRI. The connection of the brain areas that control inhibition, impulsivity and reward were measured. They also explored the possibility that eating behaviors and the Body Mass Index (BMI) are related. The Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire is also instrumental in the assessment of the links.