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Transcendental Meditation as an approach to help reduce childhood obesity

Ask the Doctors    Translate This Article
21 June 2011

Clinical neurophysiologist William Stixrud, PhD* and psychiatrist Dr Chris Clark, MD** describe how the Transcendental Meditation Technique brings relief to childhood and adolescent disorders including anxiety, depression, and obesity. Their discussion is featured on the website Ask the Doctors.

This article, the third in a series, features Dr Clark answering a question about childhood obesity. Please also see Part I and Part II.

Q: My daughter is overweight and I'm concerned for her health. Can Transcendental Meditation help?

Dr. Clark:
Obesity is a major health concern in children and young people. Unfortunately, it has become an epidemic over the last 20 years, and it does have long-term consequences for health. Childhood obesity is related to diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Obesity is related to both poor eating habits and lack of exercise. TM practitioners often report that they feel more in tune with their bodies once they start meditating. This is because the Transcendental Meditation technique provides deep rest and dissolves stress, and it's the fatigue and stress that block the feedback messages to the body and mind. When children feel more alert and clear with regular meditation, they are more likely to choose healthier foods and activities.

Research studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique show increased energy and a more balanced physiology. With regular practice, those who felt lethargic tended to become more physically active. For these reasons, practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique may be the most important thing an overweight child can do for his or her health.

Click here for more about childhood and adolescent disorders and Transcendental Meditation, including related research showing the effects of the technique in promoting improved intelligence, creativity and learning ability; improved academics; improved school behavior; benefits for special and remedial education; and decreased depression and anxiety.

*William Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and director of William Stixrud & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, a group practice specializing in learning, attention, and social/emotional disorders. Dr. Stixrud is an adjunct faculty at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

**Christopher Clark, M.D., is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and a recipient of a child psychology fellowship from the University of Washington. He has practiced medicine for over 20 years and is currently a psychiatrist in Vero Beach, Florida.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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