Program

Jun 09, 2010

OVERVIEW

The program, Yoga
for Treatment of Eating Disorders, is designed to provide one-on-one yoga
sessions for participants already receiving outpatient treatment care services
for eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia. An evaluation of a
pilot program found greater decreases in eating disorder symptoms overtime among
the yoga intervention group, while the control group declined but returned to
baseline at the 12-week follow-up.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target
population: 
Adolescents and youth receiving outpatient services for eating
disorders.

The program, Yoga
for Treatment of Eating Disorders, is designed to provide one-on-one yoga
sessions for participants already receiving outpatient treatment care services
for eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Some research has
found that individuals with eating disorders attempt to control or manage their
anxiety, depression, and food preoccupation with exercise. This program is
designed to substitute exercise with yoga to help alleviate anxiety, depression,
and food preoccupation.

Participants
receive one-on-one sessions with a yoga instructor. These one-hour sessions
occur twice a week for a total of eight consecutive weeks. Sessions take place
in clinical research setting, with dimmed lighting, so as to make the setting
appear less clinical to participants.

Yoga sessions
follow a yoga treatment manual. Participants use the same yoga instructor
throughout the program’s duration. Yoga instructors are registered at the
200-hour level and receive training from the same yoga instructor, who is
registered at the 500-hour level.

EVALUATION(S) OF
PROGRAM

Carei TR, Fyfe-Johnson AL, Breuner CC, Brown MA.
(2010). Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Yoga in the Treatment of Eating
Disorders. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46:346-351.

Evaluated
population
: A total of 54 adolescents were randomized to receive the
program, where 92% of participants were female. The mean age of participants was
16 years. The mean length of time for participants’ eating disorders was 14
months. Nearly one-half of participants (48%) engaged in over-exercising before
the start of the study. The majority of participants (94%) were non-Hispanic and
86% were white. Additionally, 55% of participants had anorexia nervosa, 17% had
bulimia, and 15% had an eating disorder that was not otherwise specified.

Approach:
Participants were recruited through the Seattle Children’s Hospital outpatient
Adolescent Medical Department. After baseline data were collected, participants
were randomly assigned to the yoga intervention group (n=26) or to the control
group (n=27). Regardless of group assignment, all participants received their
standard medical care, which may include visits with physicians and dieticians;
and all participants continued to have vital signs and nutritional habits
monitored. After the completion of the intervention, the control group went on
to receive the yoga intervention.

The following
inclusion criteria were used for this study: between 10 and 21 years of age and
met the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel-IV (DSM-IV) criteria for anorexia nervosa,
bulimia nervosa, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. The following
exclusion criteria were used for this study: resting pulse less than 44 beats
per minute, physically unable to participate in yoga, and comorbidity DSM-IV
diagnosis of psychotic disorder, conversion disorder, substance-related
disorder, and/or Axis II disorders (personality disorders and developmental
delays).

Participants
completed a series of assessments, including: the Eating Disorder Examination,
Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Eating Attitudes Test,
and the Eating Disorder Inventory-II. Additionally, participants’ height and
weight information was collected to calculate body mass index (BMI).

Assessments were
collected at baseline as well as post-intervention (nine weeks), and at
one-month follow-up (12 weeks).

Results: The
analysis found greater decreases in eating disorder symptoms over time among the
intervention group, while the control group declined but returned to baseline at
the 12-week follow-up. Additionally, both the intervention and controls groups
maintained their baseline BMI, suggesting that the yoga intervention did not
adversely affect BMI overtime.

Food preoccupation,
which was examined among the yoga intervention group only, decreased
significantly after all sessions. Both treatment and control children improved
on assessments of depression, state anxiety, and trait anxiety.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

References

Carei TR, Fyfe-Johnson AL, Breuner CC, Brown MA.
(2010). Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Yoga in the Treatment of Eating
Disorders. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46:346-351.

Evaluated
participant ages: Adolescents

Program components:
Clinic/Provider-based

Measured outcomes:
Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders/Symptoms, Depression, Mood Disorders

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Clinic/Provider-based,
Depression, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders/Symptoms, Eating Disorders, Manual
Available

Program information last updated on June 9, 2010.

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