Recent studies show overweight children have many mental health problems. The research indicates somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of all children in the United States experience a lower quality of life because they suffer from depression, anxiety, and lack of self esteem caused by obesity.
Yoga is a proven psychological and physical treatment for many obesity related problems including disorders like binge-eating. A 2006 British study revealed when kids and young adults participated for three months in yoga with controlled breathing exercise they were able to lose on average 6 pounds.
This is an important statistic because of something called body mass index (BMI). For a child to be considered obese their BMI must exceed 10% of published health standards for age, height, and weight. The six pounds yoga kids lost meant on average these overweight kids were able to lose 60% of the weight required to no longer be considered obese.
The control group comparison study showed kids who were not treated with yoga but participated in all other activities had no improvement in weight loss. Even beginner level yoga activity will have an amazing effect for overweight children as the London study clearly shows 40% of hypertension kids had normal blood pressure after only one week of participation.
Emotional disorders leading to addiction and binge eating are a way for kids to block, evade, or soothe feelings. An inability to deal with negative emotions like frustration, anger, or shame set the stage for a distorted food eating ritual.
Yoga builds self esteem and helps obese kids break down emotions and confront eating compulsion. The yoga techniques of breathing and meditation provide calm and focus to soothe compulsive behaviors without a need to eat for comfort.
People regularly use yoga to promote a healthy union of body, mind and spirit. The word yoga literally means “union “as in a peaceful connection with your physical self.
A battle of impulsive and compulsive food thoughts constantly rage within the weight afflicted or obese child. They also experience strong feelings of helplessness and even shame at being unable to control their bodies.
Yoga encourages a healthy control method and teaches how to reconnect positively with the body. Obese kids learn to approach each pose with a quiet mind, open heart and balanced reverence.
The gentle exercise of yoga is a great way for an obese body with immense physical stress to have a low impact fitness program to enhance flexibility, strength, muscle tone, and coordination. Kids’ yoga places very little additional strain on the respiratory or heart system while it improves confidence, anxiety and depression. Natural Health Techniques.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Overweight and Obesity