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Religion and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Among Postmenopausal Women: the Women's Health Initiative
GSBS Student Publications
  • Elena Salmoirago Blotcher, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • George Fitchett, Rush University
  • Judith K. Ockene, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Eliezer Schnall, Yeshiva University
  • Sybil L. Crawford, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Iris Granek, Health Sciences Center, Stonybrook
  • JoAnne Manson, Harvard Medical School
  • Ira S. Ockene, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Mary Jo O'Sullivan, University of Miami
  • Linda Powell, Rush University
  • Stephen Rapp, Wake Forest University
Student Author(s)
Elena Salmoirago Blotcher
GSBS Program
Clinical & Population Health Research
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine
Document Type
Article Postprint
Medical Subject Headings
Health Behavior; Life Style; Religion; Religion and Medicine; Postmenopause; Middle Aged; Female; Women's Health
Worship attendance has been associated with longer survival in prospective cohort studies. A possible explanation is that religious involvement may promote healthier lifestyle choices. Therefore, we examined whether attendance is associated with healthy behaviors, i.e. use of preventive medicine services, non-smoking, moderate drinking, exercising regularly, and with healthy dietary habits. The population included 71,689 post-menopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative observational study free of chronic diseases at baseline. Attendance and lifestyle behaviors information was collected at baseline using self-administered questionnaires. Healthy behaviors were modeled as a function of attendance using logistic regression. After adjustment for confounders, worship attendance (less than weekly, weekly, and more than weekly vs. never) was positively associated with use of preventive services [OR for mammograms: 1.34 (1.19, 1.51), 1.41 (1.26, 1.57), 1.33 (1.17, 1.52); breast self exams: 1.14 (1.02, 1.27), 1.33 (1.21, 1.48), 1.25 (1.1, 1.43); PAP smears: 1.22 (1.01, 1.47-weekly vs. none)]; non-smoking: [1.41 (1.35, 1.48), 1.76 (1.69, 1.84), 2.27 (2.15, 2.39)]; moderate drinking [1.35 (1.27, 1.45), 1.60 (1.52, 1.7), 2.19 (2.0, 2.4)]; and fiber intake [1.08 (1.03, 1.14), 1.16 (1.11, 1.22), 1.31 (1.23, 1.39), respectively], but not with regular exercise or with lower saturated fat and caloric intake. These findings suggest that worship attendance is associated with certain, but not all, healthy behaviors. Further research is needed to get a deeper understanding of the relationship between religious involvement and healthy lifestyle behaviors and of the inconsistent patterns in this association.
Rights and Permissions
This is the authors' peer-reviewed accepted manuscript. Citation: J Behav Med. 2011 Oct;34(5):360-71. doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9322-z. Epub 2011 Feb 8. The final publication is available at Link to article on publisher's website
DOI of Published Version
Related Resources
Link to article in PubMed
  • Middle-aged women,
  • Religion,
  • Lifestyles,
  • Health,
  • Health behaviors
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Elena Salmoirago Blotcher, George Fitchett, Judith K. Ockene, Eliezer Schnall, et al.. "Religion and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Among Postmenopausal Women: the Women's Health Initiative" Vol. 34 Iss. 5 (2011)
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