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» Alarming Health Statistics vs Wellness Revolution

By Amy Ruff on March 28, 2015

On March 23rd, Womens featured an article about Atlanta’s Spelman College. It said:

The historically black college for women decided it was time to do something major to redraw its student

body’s alarming health profile: “We’ve been greeting incoming freshmen students who were pre-

hypertensive, overweight, obese,” says its health services director.


Brenda Dalton, director of Spelman’s Student Health Services, noticed that there had been a precipitous

increase in blood pressure levels and chronic conditions of new students. She remarked, “We’ve been

greeting incoming freshmen students who were pre-hypertensive, overweight, obese and may have

other chronic conditions like type II diabetes, asthma and allergies.”


Atlanta is also the base of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to their statistics,

44% of black women over 20 years of age have hypertension and 80% of African American females are

overweight or obese. Hypertension can lead to heart attack or stroke and being obese increases your

risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers.


While Spelman is making a positive attempt to better the health of its population by introducing sports

programs, healthier food on campus, fitness facilities, health awareness, and even napping stations,

there remains a nationwide epidemic of bad health, often due to long standing habits of poor food

choices and lack of exercise.


Regarding hypertension: many studies have been done on the TM technique and hypertension,

including several randomized controlled trials of African Americans since that population has the most

difficult time controlling hypertension. The American Heart Association, after a thorough review of many

non-medication, non-dietary and all alternative approaches to hypertension, recently published their

conclusions that the TM program is the only meditation or relaxation practice that has been shown to

significantly reduce high blood pressure. This benefit has been reported throughout the media, including

in an NBC news report.


Regarding obesity: one significant cause of obesity is food addiction. With the improvements proven to

take place in brain functioning during the TM practice, impulsivity is reduced. And with the

decrease of anxiety and depression that results from TM, compulsive eating also decreases. There is

evidence from a well-controlled scientific study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 that

the TM technique can reduce the components of metabolic syndrome. Patients with metabolic

syndrome are characteristically overweight, with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and

triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol.


Regarding diabetes: research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 shows that the

practice of the TM technique can help during the initial stages of type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin

resistance. Further, stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline aggravate insulin

and glucose levels. Reducing these neurohormones through the Transcendental Meditation technique

helps to balance glucose and insulin in the blood. This helps to normalize diabetes.


According to the World Heart Federation, “People with diabetes develop atherosclerosis at a younger

age and more severely than people without diabetes. Hypertension is more than twice as common in

people with diabetes as in people with normal blood glucose levels. People with diabetes are more likely

to have a heart attack or stroke, than people who do not, and their prognosis is worse….”


What can women do about it? Exercise, nutritious food, and other healthy habits are significant

contributors to the solution. And adding the TM technique to a daily routine:


“Transcendental Meditation is associated with statistically significant decreased hypertension and

atherosclerosis, clinical improvements in patients with established heart disease, decreased

hospitalization rates, and improvements in other risk factors including reduced stress and even

decreased smoking and cholesterol.” – Abraham Bornstein, MD, FACC, Assistant Professor of Medicine

and Science Education, Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine


As a nurse of 40 years, I have watched the steady increase of chronic health conditions presenting in

women of all ages due to obesity and lifestyle choices. I have cared for many young women who could

have avoided critical health issues had they started a regimen including the TM technique.

If you know someone or are someone with risk factors, it is not too late. Anyone who can think a

thought and follow simple instructions can learn and successfully practice the TM technique and will

have a powerful boost to better health.

About the author
Amy Ruff (BSN, RN, WOCN) is the national director of the TM Program for Nurses ,