Controlling blood glucose levels is one of the main goals of diabetes and prediabetes management, and now new research presented at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, suggests that an approach known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve quality of life in overweight and obese women. An estimated 29 million people have diabetes and 86 million people have prediabetes in the United States.
MBSR is a nonreligious mindfulness meditation program developed and popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. The practice involves using methods such as breathing exercises to develop nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations from moment to moment.
Stress appears to play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease in women who are overweight and obese. To evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR at reducing stress in this population, the researchers randomly assigned 86 overweight and obese women to either eight weeks of MBSR training or, for those in the control group, health education training. All participants received fasting blood tests and completed questionnaires at the beginning of the study and again at eight and 16 weeks.