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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep;18(9):1867-70. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.102. Epub 2010 May 6.

High rates of obesity and chronic disease among United Methodist clergy.

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  • 1Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University Center for Health Policy, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


We used self-reported data from United Methodist clergy to assess the prevalence of obesity and having ever been told certain chronic disease diagnoses. Of all actively serving United Methodist clergy in North Carolina (NC) 95% (n = 1726) completed self-report height and weight items and diagnosis questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). We calculated BMI categories and diagnosis prevalence rates for the clergy and compared them to the NC population using BRFSS data. The obesity rate among clergy aged 35-64 years was 39.7%, 10.3% (95% CI = 8.5%, 12.1%) higher than their NC counterparts. Clergy also reported significantly higher rates of having ever been given diagnoses of diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, angina, and asthma compared to their NC peers. Health interventions that address obesity and chronic disease among clergy are urgently needed.

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