Participation in religious activities on a regular basis has been demonstrated to be extremely advantageous among African American adults. According to a current study, people who regularly engage in spiritual activities have higher test results, indicating good heart health. According to the study, there is a noticeable difference between those who do and those who do not.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, religious African Americans involved in the research fared substantially better on tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and other parameters that are crucial to the overall health of the cardiovascular system.
Joining religious activities increases one’s chances of attaining high scores in eight measures, including physical activity, nicotine exposure, food, and sleep, by 15%.
Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, the lead study of the research, said, “I was slightly surprised by the findings that multiple dimensions of religiosity and spirituality were associated with improved cardiovascular health across multiple health behaviors that are extremely challenging to change, such as diet, physical activity and smoking.”
“Our findings highlight the substantial role that culturally tailored health promotion initiatives and recommendations for lifestyle change may play in advancing health equity,” Dr. Brewer added. “The cultural relevance of interventions may increase their likelihood of influencing cardiovascular health and also the sustainability and maintenance of healthy lifestyle changes.”
Relatively poorer cardiovascular wellness
According to health professionals, African Americans had lower cardiovascular health than non-Hispanic Whites. As a result, African-Americans had a greater fatality rate from cardiovascular disease than White people.
The research included 2,967 African-American participants. The health tests and questionnaires were done on a sample of 21 to 84-year-old Jackson, Mississippi residents. The tri-county area is well-known for its residents’ strong religion. Those with pre-existing cardiac disease were excluded from the research.
The selected individuals were then classified based on their religious practices. According to Mercedes R. Carnethon, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, religion is linked to improved cardiovascular health outcomes.
“One hypothesis that could explain these observations is that both the practice of religion and the behaviors that are associated with better cardiovascular health, such as adherence to physician recommendations for behavior change, not smoking, and not drinking excessively, share a common origin or personality characteristic,” she said.
“Observing a religion requires discipline, conscientiousness and a willingness to follow the guidance of a leader. These traits may also lead people to engage in better health practices under the guidance of their healthcare providers.”
A faith-based lifestyle needs to be fostered
According to the findings, people could improve their lifestyle by embracing a more religious perspective, according to Jonathan Butler from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“A potential way to address health inequities in the African American community is to leverage faith-based organizations’ physical and social capital capacity to improve health outcomes,” he said.