Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Keeping Fit By Keeping The Faith

Date:
August 17, 1998
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
In the latest of a series of studies on the theology-biology link, Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc, and colleagues at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., discovered a connection between church attendance, Bible study, and blood pressure. Religiously active older people tend to have lower blood pressure than those who are less active, the researchers conclude.

The religiously inclined don't necessarily have to wait for the hereafter to reap the rewards of faith, health researchers say.

In the latest of a series of studies on the theology-biology link, Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc, and colleagues at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., discovered a connection between church attendance, Bible study, and blood pressure. Religiously active older people tend to have lower blood pressure than those who are less active, the researchers conclude.

But anyone hoping to take advantage of the links had better practice religion the old-fashioned way. One of the most surprising discoveries related to religious television and radio programming: people who tuned in to these programs actually had higher blood pressures than those who did not.

The findings are reported in the July issue of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. The research was part of a National Institutes of Health-sponsored initiative, "Establishment of Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly."

The researchers examined the health and habits of older adults in an overwhelmingly Protestant area of North Carolina over a six-year period. Nearly 4,000 randomly selected individuals 65 years or older were interviewed and examined in 1986, then again in 1989-90 and 1992-93. A total of 2,391 persons completed the three phases.

When their blood pressures were measured, consistent differences were found. People who attended religious services at least once a week posted lower readings than those who attended less often.

The likelihood of having a diastolic blood pressure of 90 or higher, the level most often associated with strokes or heart attacks, was 40 percent lower among those who attended a religious service one a week and prayed or studied the Bible once a day, than among those who did so less often. "This was a large and clinically significant difference," says Koenig, "one of the largest effects thus far identified on cardiovascular health."

Associations between religious activity and blood pressure were particularly strong among African-Americans and among the "young elderly," those 65 to 74 years old.

The authors caution that their findings "may be limited by the geographical location of our sample in the Bible-belt South. Indeed, 53 percent of our sample attended church weekly or more often, 56 percent prayed daily or more, and 75 percent watched religious TV or listened to religious radio at least once a week." Older Americans across the nation, however, tend to be similarly religious, they add.

In previous work, the authors reported links between religious observance and enhanced immune function in older adults. They cautioned then, as with this study, that more research is needed before it can be said that religious activity causes improvement in physical health.

Regarding the blood pressure study, they concede that measured differences between groups were relatively small, but note that even slight decreases in blood pressure can significantly decrease the danger of cardiovascular disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Keeping Fit By Keeping The Faith." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980817081639.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (1998, August 17). Keeping Fit By Keeping The Faith. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980817081639.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Keeping Fit By Keeping The Faith." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980817081639.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins