Pilot study of tai chi and qigong on body composition, sleep, and emotional eating in midlife/older women

Dara James, Linda K. Larkey, Bronwynne Evans, Ann Sebren, Kimberley Goldsmith, Lisa Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Weight gain and related adverse changes in body composition are prevalent among midlife and older women and contribute to chronic disease (e.g., type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression). Tai Chi (TC) and Qigong (QG), forms of Meditative Movement, demonstrate improved physical/psychological symptoms and body composition. Using a standardized TC/QG protocol, we explored pre/post intervention differences in percent body fat and factors related to body composition in midlife/older women. In the context of a single-group pilot study, females ages 45–75 (N = 51) enrolled in an 8-week TC/QG intervention. Primary outcome measures of body composition, sleep quality, emotional eating and select secondary outcome psycho-emotional factors (perceived stress, mood state, mindfulness, self-compassion, body awareness) were collected. Change in percent body fat did not reach statistical significance (p = .30, M =  0.35, 95% CI [- 0.32, 1.0]). Sleep quality improved significantly, p = .04, M =–0.88, 95% CI [−1.71,–0.04]. Emotional eating changed in the expected direction, but not significantly, p = .08, M =  −0.16, 95% CI [−0.34, 0.02]. Significant differences were found in body awareness, p = .01, M =  0.36, 95% CI [0.08, 0.63] and perceived stress, p = .05, M =  −2.36, 95% CI [−4.76, 0.04]. Preliminary results are promising as results showed improvements in factors related to healthy body composition. Refined research is needed to understand if/how TC/QG may improve body composition among midlife and older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-459
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • (5 max): Tai Chi/Qigong
  • body composition
  • eating
  • sleep
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pilot study of tai chi and qigong on body composition, sleep, and emotional eating in midlife/older women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this