Yoga as an Alternative Therapy for Weight Management in Child and Adolescent Obesity: A Systematic Review and Implications for Research

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Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine





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Background • Obesity remains among one of the greatest health care threats facing today’s children and adolescents. Yoga has gained increased popularity in the United States and appears as a promising way to assist with weight loss and management in adults. However, research examining yoga programs targeting weight loss for children or adolescents are relatively scarce. Objective • The current study provided a systematic review of yoga-based interventions targeting weight loss among overweight or obese children and adolescents. Methodology • The authors conducted a systematic review of articles obtained from Alt HealthWatch, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PubMed, and Web of Science databases. Inclusion criteria were studies employed yoga as a primary component, targeted overweight or obese children or adolescents, measured body weight or BMI as an outcome, utilized any type of study design, and published in peer-reviewed journals in English language. Results • A total of nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were conducted in the United States (n = 5), and implemented in the school setting (n = 5). Among studies reviewed, three were randomized controlled trials, and two were with the attrition rates approaching 50%. A majority of the interventions were able to facilitate weight loss and relevant behaviors. Conclusion • The impact of yoga interventions on child and adolescent obesity was small but meaningful. Some of the limitations include small sample sizes, lack of follow-up assessment after posttest, lack of control groups, lack of utilization of behavioral theories, and lack of intervention targeting disadvantaged populations. Future interventions utilizing randomized controlled trials with large sample sizes are needed to assess the impact of yoga on child and adolescent obesity. (Altern Ther Health Med. 2020;27(1):48-55).


Rehabilitation and Therapy



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