(Reuters Health) – An eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program not only reduces stress, but could also lower blood sugar, U.S. researchers say.

“Our study suggests that MBSR could be a useful tool for preventing or treating diabetes in patients with overweight or obesity,” lead author Dr.Nazia Raja-Khan from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, said by email.

MBSR, an intensive instructor-led training program, incorporates meditation, body awareness and other anxiety-reducing techniques. It was originally developed decades ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester to help patients manage pain and stress while being treated for cancer and other serious illnesses, but the course is now offered in a wide variety of settings nationwide.

MBSR training has been shown to reduce stress and therefore might reduce the risk of heart disease in overweight or obese individuals, though this has yet to be proven, Raja Khan’s team writes in the journal Obesity.

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