Photo Credit: Church Source
African American individuals have been proven to benefit greatly from regular engagement in religious activities. Recent studies have shown that people who regularly practice spiritual activities tested with higher results, indicating good heart health. When contrasted to individuals who don’t, the difference is evident, claims the report.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, religious African Americans who participated in the study fared substantially better on tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and other variables that are crucial to the overall health of the cardiovascular system.
Attending religious events increases a person’s likelihood of scoring highly in eight different categories, including physical activity, nicotine exposure, food, and sleep, by 15%.
The lead study author of the research Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, 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.”
African American health statistics
According to medical professionals, African Americans have worse cardiovascular health than non-Hispanic White people. Therefore, compared to White adults, African-American adults had a greater mortality rate from cardiovascular illnesses.
Participants in the research were 2,967 African-Americans. A sample of Jackson, Mississippi, residents between the ages of 21 and 84 had health exams and questionnaires. The tri-county region is widely renowned for having residents that are quite religious. Heart disease patients were not included in the research.
The sampled people were then divided into groups based on their religious practices. Religiosity is associated with improved outcomes for cardiovascular health, claims Mercedes R. Carnethon, an epidemiologist from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“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.”
The need to foster a faith-based lifestyle
The results led Jonathan Butler, from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, to draw the conclusion that it is advantageous for people to improve their way of life by leaning more heavily on religion.
“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.