Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 1221–1237 | Cite as

True Believers? Religion, Physiology, and Perceived Body Weight in Texas

  • Andrea L. RuizEmail author
  • Gabriel A. Acevedo
Original Paper


This paper examines relationships between body weight, religion, and gender while controlling for relevant covariates and body mass index (BMI), a measure of physical/biological body type. Using data from the 2004 Survey of Texas Adults (n = 1,504), we present results of ordered logistic regression models which indicate that religious factors work distinctly for men and women when controlling for BMI. While church attendance is associated with lower odds of overweight perceptions among women, it is religious salience that is associated with lower odds of self-reported excess weight in men. Implications for research which associates religious and physiological factors are discussed.


Religion Catholics Body Gender Texas 



We would like to thank Xiaohe Xu, John Bartkowski and Chris Ellison for the helpful comments on an early draft of this paper. Earlier versions were presented at the Department of Sociology Graduate Student Colloquium at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the 2013 Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association in New York City. The data for this study were acquired via The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR, Study Number 4297) and were made available (in part) by the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and by funding provided by the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Neither the collector of the data nor any of these entities bears any responsibility for the analyses and interpretations presented here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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