London: Mindfulness training could be the key to support weight loss in individuals with obesity, thereby facilitating healthier eating behaviours, as per a new study.

Mindfulness is a mind-body practice where individuals learn to achieve heightened awareness of their current state of mind and immediate environment in the present moment.

The study showed that individuals who participated in mindfulness training as part of an intensive weight management programme lost three kilograms of weight in six months than others who participated in obesity management programme.

"This research is significant as we have shown that problematic eating behaviour can be improved with mindfulness application," said Petra Hansona, lead researcher and postdoctoral student from the University of Warwickshire in the UK.

"Mindfulness has huge potential as a strategy for achieving and maintaining good health and wellbeing," said Thomas M. Barber, Associate Professor at the varsity.

Focus should be on enabling the populace to make appropriate lifestyle decisions and empowering subsequent salutary behaviour change, said Barber.

For the study, the team examined weight loss among a small group of people who were attending the multidisciplinary tier 3 weight management programme.

Findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, showed that individuals who attended only one or two courses lost, on average, 0.9 kilograms (2 pounds) during the same period.

Conversely, those who did not complete the course tended to weigh more than those who finished the group mindfulness course.

"Individuals who completed the course said they were better able to plan meals in advance and felt more confident in self-management of weight loss moving forward," said Hanson.

Obesity worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organisation. As of 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide met the criteria for overweight or obesity.