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Contextualizing the Effects of Yoga Therapy on Diabetes Management: A Review of the Social Determinants of Physical Activity

Alexander, Gina K. MPH, RN; Taylor, Ann Gill EdD, RN, FAAN; Innes, Karen E. PhD, MSPH; Kulbok, Pamela DNSc, MS, RN, APRN, BC; Selfe, Terry K. DC, PhD

Section Editor(s): Snyder, Audrey E. PhD, RN, FAANP; Taylor, Ann Gill EdD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/01.FCH.0000324480.40459.20

This article provides a review of literature both to identify the effects of yoga-based therapy on the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus and to examine the social context of physical activity. Findings from the review indicate that yoga has a positive short-term effect on multiple diabetes-related outcomes; however, long-term effects of yoga therapy on diabetes management remain unclear. The context of the social environment, including interpersonal relationships, community characteristics, and discrimination, influences the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors such as physical activity, including yoga practice. Further research is necessary to determine the extent of this influence.

From the Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies (Ms Alexander and Drs Taylor, Innes, and Selfe); and the Department of Family, Community, & Mental Health Systems (Dr Kulbok), University of Virginia School of Nursing, Charlottesville.

Corresponding author: Gina K. Alexander, MPH, RN, University of Virginia School of Nursing, PO Box 800905, Charlottesville, VA 22908 (e-mail:

This research was supported in part by the University of Virginia Institute on Aging, grant no. R21-AT-0002982 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Office of Women's Health, and grant no. T32-AT-000052 from the NCCAM. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the University of Virginia, NCCAM, Office of Women's Health, or the National Institutes of Health.

Copyright © 2008 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved