Religious Attendance and Body Mass: An Examination of Variations by Race and Gender

Abstract

Studies of the association between religious attendance and body mass have yielded mixed results. In this paper, we consider intersectional variations by race and gender to advance our understanding of these inconsistencies. We use data from the 2006–2008 Health and Retirement Study to examine the association between religious attendance and three indicators of body mass: overall body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio (n = 11,457). For White women, attendance is either protective or unrelated to body mass. For Black women, attendance is consistently associated with increased body mass. We find that religious attendance is not associated with body mass among the men.

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Correspondence to Amy M. Burdette.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The current study employs secondary data analysis on de-identified, publicly available data, and therefore did not require IRB approval.

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Godbolt, D., Vaghela, P., Burdette, A.M. et al. Religious Attendance and Body Mass: An Examination of Variations by Race and Gender. J Relig Health 57, 2140–2152 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-017-0490-1

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Keywords

  • Religion
  • Body mass
  • Church attendance
  • BMI