, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 30-35

Frequency of attendance at religious services and leisure-time physical activity in american women and men: The third national health and nutrition examination survey

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Background: Studies are lacking from representative samples of total populations and Hispanic Americans on the association of religiousness and leisure time physical activity (LTPA).Purpose: The objective is to test the hypothesis that frequency of attendance at religious services is positively associated with LTPA.Methods: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) included 11,820 persons 20 years of age and older with complete data on self-reported frequency of attendance at religious services, LTPA, and mobility limitation.Results:Among older women with no mobility limitation, infrequent attenders had significantly higher prevalence of no LTPA (odds ratio = 1.4; 95% confidence interval = 1.1, 1.9; p = .02), but infrequent attenders were not significantly different from others in prevalence of moderate or vigorous LTPA 5 or more times per week after adjustment for sociodemographic variables and health status. No significant associations were seen at 20 to 59 years of age or in men.Conclusions: In older women without mobility limitation, less than weekly attendance at religious services was associated with greater prevalence of no LTPA even after controlling for health status. Significant adjusted associations were not seen in men or younger women.

I acknowledge the staff and contractors of the Division of Health Examination Statistics of the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who conducted the survey and prepared the data for analysis, and C. Duran who assisted with computer analysis.