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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Religion and body weight in an underserved population

Authors
item Kim Yeary, Karen -
item Jo, Chan-Hee - UAMS DEPT OF PEDIATRICS
item Simpson, Pippa - ACHRI-DAC
item Gossett, Jeffery - ACHRI-DAC
item Johnson, Glenda - SOUTHERN UNIV AND A&M
item McCabe Sellers, Beverly
item Thornton, Alma - SOUTHERN UNIV AND A&M
item Prewitt, Elaine - U OF AR COL OF PUB HEALTH
item Mcgee, Bernestine - SOUTHERN UNIV AND A&M

Submitted to: Race, Gender and Class
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 6, 2009
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Citation: Kim Yeary, K.H., Jo, C., Simpson, P., Gossett, J., Johnson, G.S., McCabe Sellers, B.J., Thornton, A., Prewitt, E., McGee, B.B. 2009. Religion and body weight in an underserved population. Race, Gender and Class. 16(3-4):82-98.

Interpretive Summary: Obesity is a major public health problem that is linked to chronic disease and mortality. Thus understanding obesity is important in improving health, particularly among those who bear a disproportionate burden of disease. Religion is an important part of many American’s lives and may play a role in body weight. Data (1662 African American and Caucasian adults aged 18+) from a rural, impoverished sample were analyzed. Those who watched religious television and/or listened to religious radio once a week or more were 1.37 BMI units (~7lbs) heavier than those who watched religious television and/or listened to religious radio less than once a week. The lower rates of smoking among the religious were partially responsible for this relationship. Social contexts, such as religion, play an important role in how health and health behaviors are shaped. Better understanding this aspect of the social realm is important in understanding body weight, and in addressing disparities in health.

Technical Abstract: Religions prominence in some underserved groups that bear a disproportionate burden of the obesity epidemic (e.g. rural, Southern, minority) may play an important role in body weight. Data (1662 African American and Caucasian adults aged 18+) from a representative U.S. sample of a predominately rural, impoverished area were analyzed. For every 1 unit increase in religious media, there was a 1.37 unit increase in BMI (7lbs) in Whites only. Smoking, but not physical activity or nutrition, mediated this relationship.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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