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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4 (2007), Issue 4, Pages 487-491

A Review of Yoga Programs for Four Leading Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases

School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 415 Victoria Building, 3500 Victoria Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 23 February 2007; Accepted 5 September 2007

Copyright © 2007 Kyeongra Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Yoga, a form of physical activity, is rapidly gaining in popularity and has many health benefits. Yet healthcare providers have been slow to recognize yoga for its ability to improve health conditions, and few interventions have been developed that take full advantage of its benefits. The purpose of this article is to review published studies using yoga programs and to determine the effect of yoga interventions on common risk factors of chronic diseases (overweight, hypertension, high glucose level and high cholesterol). A systematic search yielded 32 articles published between 1980 and April 2007. The studies found that yoga interventions are generally effective in reducing body weight, blood pressure, glucose level and high cholesterol, but only a few studies examined long-term adherence. Additionally, not enough studies included diverse populations at high risk for diabetes and its related common health problems.