Religiosity and Excess Weight Among African-American Adolescents: The Jackson Heart KIDS Study

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that religion and spirituality can yield health benefits for young African-Americans. We examined the relationship between religious practices, spirituality, and excess weight among African-American adolescents (N = 212) residing in the Deep South. Results from modified Poisson regression analysis indicate that adolescents who prayed daily had a lower prevalence of excess weight (PR 0.77 [95% CI 0.62–0.96]) than those who did not. This relationship was only significant for 12–15 year-old participants in age-stratified analysis. These findings suggest that preventive interventions offered to children and younger adolescents can have implications for weight status across the lifespan.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Center for Research on Men’s Health at Vanderbilt University and grants from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (Prime Award Number 1 CPIMP091054—Beech); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HHSN268201800012I—Beech; 1R25HL126145—Beech and Norris; 1K01HL88735—Bruce); the National Institute of Aging (1K02AG059140—Thorpe); the Program for Research on Men’s Health in the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions (P60MD000214—Thorpe) and the Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award (Thorpe). The authors thank Ms. Mary Crump, Ms. Lovie Robinson, Dr. Gerrie Cannon Smith, Dr. London Thompson, Ms. Ashley Wicks, Rev. Thaddeus Williams, and Mr. Willie Wright for their support of this study and participation on the Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study Community Advisory Board.

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Correspondence to Marino A. Bruce.

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Bruce, M.A., Beech, B.M., Wilder, T. et al. Religiosity and Excess Weight Among African-American Adolescents: The Jackson Heart KIDS Study. J Relig Health 59, 223–233 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-019-00762-5

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Keywords

  • Pediatric obesity
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Health disparities
  • Population health