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The number of people practicing Yoga and meditation have been growing A LOT in recent years. And the trend is happening across age ranges, including kids and adults. So, why is this? What's the big deal?

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Yoga and meditation are super popular in the United States now. Prepare to attain total awareness of the research. This is Healthcare Triage News.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two reports in November of last year. The first, Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 and Over, looked at how the percentage of adults that used yoga, meditation, and chiropractors changed from 2012 through 2017. Yoga went up from 9.5% of Americans in 2012 to 14.3% in 2017. Meditation went from 4.1% to 14.2%; that's like a three-fold increase. 

The second report looked at these rates in children aged 4 to 17 years. Yoga went from 2.1% in 2012 to 8.4% in 2017. Meditation went from .6% to 5.4%.

In both reports, the use of chiropractors didn't change so much, about 10% of adults and about 3.5% of kids.

Now, some caveats and details. This measured the percent of people who used a therapy in the last 12 months. In other words, it reports on people who only engaged in them even once a year. That's not the same as consistent users, which you might assume from many of the news reports.

In adults, the rates of yoga are much higher in adults who are younger, say 18 to 44 (18% of whom used yoga), versus those 65 years or older (about 6.7%). Non-Hispanic white adults are more likely to engage in yoga (17.1%) than Hispanic adults (8%) and non-Hispanic black adults (9.3%). Older kids, 12 to 17 years, were also more likely to meditate (6.5%) that kids aged 4 to 11 (4.7%).

But, I'm impressed that even almost 5% of kids that age have tried it. Why? Well, there are any number of plausible reasons for this. Chronic pain and anxiety seem to be more common than they were in the past, and these are absolutely viable ways to deal with those. There are any number of randomized controlled trials that show that yoga can improve patient-centered outcomes in patients; I was even an author of one that looked at controlling pain in kids with cancer.

I've also written about meditation in the past. There's studies that show it can be beneficial in many ways. I found it to be enormously useful when I committed the time to do it. I've failed at that recently, but maybe I'll give it another go. Yoga, on the other hand, not my thing. No judgements.

But, if you're inclined to try yoga and meditation, you're not alone. Lots of Americans are joining you. I imagine these numbers will continue to increase in the future.


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