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Isr Med Assoc J. 2007 Oct;9(10):703-7.

Health behavior and religiosity among Israeli Jews.

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  • 1Department of Health Management, Hebrew University School of Public Health, Jerusalem, Israel. ashmueli@md2.huji.ac.il

Abstract

Research findings have shown the protective effect of religiosity --among both Christians and Israeli Jews--in terms of morbidity and mortality. To explore the relationship between religiosity and health behavior as a possible explanation for these findings we conducted 3056 telephone interviews, representing the Israeli adult urban Jewish population. Health status, health behavior, frequency of medical checkups, and eating habits were measured. Logistic regressions were used to estimate the religiosity gradient on health behavior, controlling for other personal characteristics. We found a lower prevalence of stress and smoking among religious persons; we also found that religious women exercise less than secular women and that religious people--both men and women--are more obese than their secular counterparts. While no religiosity gradient was found with relation to the frequency of blood pressure, cholesterol and dental checkups, religious women are less likely to undergo breast examinations and mammography. Finally, religious people generally follow a healthier dietary regime, consuming less meat, dairy products and coffee, and much more fish. The lower smoking rates, lower levels of stress, and the healthier dietary regime are consistent with the previously shown longer life expectancy of religious people; however, obesity might become a risk factor in this community.

PMID:
17987756
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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