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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Religion and Body Weight in the Lower Mississippi Delta)

item Kim, Karen
item Jo, Chan-hee
item Simpson, Pippa
item Mccabe Sellers, Beverly
item Johnson, Glenda
item Hyman, Edith
item Thornton, Alma
item Mcgee, Bernestine
item Prewitt, Elaine
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Society for Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/8/2006
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The empirical evidence linking religion and health has grown substantially over the last decade to the extent that even the most skeptical scientists are taking seriously the myriad of literature identifying religions’ association with health. In concert with this literature, religion has been empirically linked to excess body weight in several populations. However, the relationship between religion and body weight has not been examined among the US rural, minority, and poor, which bear a disproportionate burden of the obesity epidemic. Combating health disparities requires an understanding of religion’s relationship with body weight among populations that bear a disproportionate burden of excess body weight and related disease. Data (1662 adults aged 18 and older) from the Foods of our Delta Study (FOODS 2000) were analyzed. FOODS 2000 was a cross sectional baseline survey that assessed the nutrition and health status of a representative sample of the Lower Mississippi Delta, a predominately rural, impoverished area in the United States. After accounting for all sociodemographic controls, religious media and religious denomination were significantly related to higher body weight. Those reporting consumption of religious radio or TV at least once a week had a 1.2 higher BMI than those reporting less than once a week of religious media consumption. Conservative Protestants had a 1.1 higher BMI than those reporting a Black Protestant affiliation. Smoking was a mediator in these relationships. There were also significant relationships between religion and several health behavior variables, with several measures of religion being related to lower energy intake, less drinking, and less smoking. Among a representative, rural, low-income, predominately minority US population, religious media and religious denomination were related to higher BMI. Smoking served as a mediator in these relationships.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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