Clinical & Population Health Research Program
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine
Medical Subject Headings
Health Behavior; Life Style; Religion; Religion and Medicine; Postmenopause; Middle Aged; Female; Women's Health
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Preventive Medicine | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Worship attendance has been associated with longer survival in prospective cohort studies. A possible explanation is that religious involvement may promote healthier lifestyle choices. Therefore, we examined whether attendance is associated with healthy behaviors, i.e. use of preventive medicine services, non-smoking, moderate drinking, exercising regularly, and with healthy dietary habits. The population included 71,689 post-menopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative observational study free of chronic diseases at baseline. Attendance and lifestyle behaviors information was collected at baseline using self-administered questionnaires. Healthy behaviors were modeled as a function of attendance using logistic regression. After adjustment for confounders, worship attendance (less than weekly, weekly, and more than weekly vs. never) was positively associated with use of preventive services [OR for mammograms: 1.34 (1.19, 1.51), 1.41 (1.26, 1.57), 1.33 (1.17, 1.52); breast self exams: 1.14 (1.02, 1.27), 1.33 (1.21, 1.48), 1.25 (1.1, 1.43); PAP smears: 1.22 (1.01, 1.47-weekly vs. none)]; non-smoking: [1.41 (1.35, 1.48), 1.76 (1.69, 1.84), 2.27 (2.15, 2.39)]; moderate drinking [1.35 (1.27, 1.45), 1.60 (1.52, 1.7), 2.19 (2.0, 2.4)]; and fiber intake [1.08 (1.03, 1.14), 1.16 (1.11, 1.22), 1.31 (1.23, 1.39), respectively], but not with regular exercise or with lower saturated fat and caloric intake. These findings suggest that worship attendance is associated with certain, but not all, healthy behaviors. Further research is needed to get a deeper understanding of the relationship between religious involvement and healthy lifestyle behaviors and of the inconsistent patterns in this association.
Rights and Permissions
Citation: Salmoirago-Blotcher E, Fitchett G, Ockene JK, Schnall E, Crawford S, Granek I, Manson J, Ockene I, O'Sullivan MJ, Powell L, Rapp S. Religion and healthy lifestyle behaviors among postmenopausal women: the women's health initiative. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2011 Feb 8. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI 10.1007/s10865-011-9322-z. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Link to article on publisher's website
Middle-aged women, Religion, Lifestyles, Health, Health behaviors
Salmoirago Blotcher, Elena; Fitchett, George; Ockene, Judith K.; Schnall, Eliezer; Crawford, Sybil L.; Granek, Iris; Manson, JoAnne; Ockene, Ira S.; O'Sullivan, Mary Jo; Powell, Linda; and Rapp, Stephen, "Religion and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Among Postmenopausal Women: the Women's Health Initiative" (2011). GSBS Student Publications. Paper 1668.