American Heart Association: Black Adults Religous Activities Aid In Heart Health
According to new research, Black adults who frequently attend church or have a deep relationship with religion and spirituality are more likely to hit markers of good cardiovascular health.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AMA), Black men and women who regularly attend service are more likely to exercise frequently, maintain a balanced diet and have consistent blood pressure.
The association is the first to investigate the association between religious practices and spirituality and a set of behaviors and practices that are considered to be significant in achieving good cardiovascular health.
Researchers analyzed health and religious data collected through interviews health screenings and surveys of more than 2,2900 participants for the Jackson Heart Study, which is the largest community-based study of cardiovascular disease among Black men and women. The study, which started in 1998 continues to this day.
Overall those who reported they were regularly involved in religious activities had a16% higher odds of hitting intermediate or ideal standards for physical activity, 10% higher odds of healthy eating, 50% higher odds of not smoking and 12% higher odds of maintaining good blood pressure than those who attend church less often. They also have a 15% higher chance of achieving an intermediate or high cardiovascular health score.
Additionally, Black adults who frequently conduct private prayer had 12% greater odds of achieving intermediate or ideal metrics for diet and 24% greater odds of not smoking.
“Health professionals and researchers should acknowledge the importance of religious and spiritual influences in the lives of African Americans – who tend to be highly religious,” lead study author Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, a preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic said in a release.
“With religious and spiritual beliefs factored into our approaches, we may make major breakthroughs in fostering the relationship between patients and physicians and between community members and scientists to build trust and sociocultural understanding of this population.”
The news is significant considering that Black men and women overall have poorer cardiovascular health and higher cardiovascular disease rates than their Whtie peers