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Disordered eating behaviours and correlates in yoga practitioners: a systematic review

  • Rita B. DominguesEmail author
  • Cláudia Carmo
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Orthorexia Nervosa

Abstract

Purpose

Yoga has been increasingly used as a complementary therapy for eating disorders. However, it is still not clear whether yoga is effective in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders, as some studies suggest that yoga practitioners show elevated levels of disordered eating behaviours. The goal of this systematic review is, thus, to analyse the occurrence of disordered eating behaviours and correlates in yoga practitioners.

Method

PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews were used. Search was conducted in several databases and specific journals.

Results

Twelve articles, all cross-sectional, were identified, following PRISMA guidelines. Results across studies were inconsistent. Yoga practice was usually associated with healthier eating behaviours, lower disordered eating symptoms, and higher positive body image and body satisfaction, suggesting that yoga practitioners may be at a lower risk of developing eating disorders. However, other studies suggested that a high dosage of yoga practice may be associated with a higher prevalence of disordered eating behaviours.

Conclusions

As yoga is increasingly used as therapy for eating disorders, understanding the relationship between yoga dosage and disordered eating behaviours is critical to guide treatment recommendations and establish yoga as a valuable complementary therapy.

Level of evidence

Level I, systematic review.

Keywords

Eating disorders Yoga Therapy Risk factors Orthorexia 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) provided funding for R.B.D. through a researcher contract (DL57/2016). We thank the editor and anonymous reviewers whose comments have greatly improved this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA)University of Algarve, Campus de GambelasFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre in Psychology (CIP)University of Algarve, Campus de GambelasFaroPortugal

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