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Americans who practice Yoga report better wellness, health behaviors

People who practiced yoga or took natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals) were more likely to do so for wellness reasons than to treat a specific health condition, according to analysis of data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Yoga users reported the most positive health benefits, compared to users of natural products and spinal manipulation. The analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) was published in a National Health Statistics Report by the National Center for Health Statistics.

“Though yoga seems to play the biggest role, people who use a variety of complementary health approaches reported better wellbeing,” said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCIH. “This may suggest that people perceive more wellness benefit when they are actively involved in their health, for example by practicing yoga. More research is needed to better understand the ways yoga and other approaches impact overall health.”

The NHIS is an annual study in which thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. The 2012 NHIS asked participants about their use of complementary health approaches and whether they used them to treat a specific health condition or for any of five wellness-related reasons. Participants were also asked whether this use led to any of nine desirable health-related outcomes. The survey results are based on data from 34,525 adults aged 18 and older.

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