(HealthDay News) — A mindfulness intervention is feasible for U.S. veterans with diabetes and can improve diabetes control and reduce diabetes-related distress, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in Orlando, Fla.

Monica DiNardo, PhD, from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, examined the feasibility of implementing a mindfulness intervention for 28 U.S. veterans with diabetes (type 2 diabetes, 78.6%). The veterans participated in a 90-minute intervention, which included group discussion, didactic presentation and formal mindfulness meditation practices, and were directed to practice at home for 3 months.

The researcher noted that all participants found the intervention interesting and easy to understand; 96% planned to continue practicing mindfulness and 92% would recommend mindfulness to other veterans with diabetes. 

After 3 months, there was an average decrease of 41% in diabetes-related distress, and veterans’ HbA1c levels decreased significantly, from 8.3% to 7.3% (P<.01). Diabetes management improved, with more participants meeting AADE-7 self-care behavioral goals (P<.01).

“The veterans were much more receptive to mindfulness training than we anticipated,” DiNardo said in a statement. “We were surprised at the dramatic decrease in diabetes-related stress. The veterans said the more mindful they were, the better they were able to manage their diabetes.”