Scholars from Krakow have established a relationship between the four religions present in Poland and the types of diseases their followers suffer. The research took a close look at the health and physical recommendations that contain the scriptures and teachings of these religions. What conclusions did the researchers reach?
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1. Religion and health. Research by scholars from Krakow
Religious beliefs can be the source of many healthy habits. Previous research has also demonstrated the existence of such relationships. Polish scientists from the Collegium Medicum of Jagiellonian University have just proven that Jews often have high blood pressure, Seventh-day Adventists eat healthy food, drink and smoke less, overweight is often diagnosed among Muslims, and …Catholics often suffer from high cholesterol.
Researchers say some health behaviors are linked to religious affiliation. The results have been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Researchers from the College of Health Sciences Collegium Medicum of Jagiellonian University, the School of Management at the AGH and the School of Management at the University of Economics in Krakow examined whether the level of religious commitment significantly affects the health behavior of representatives of different faiths living in Poland, and whether In some religions, believers have a different approach to healthy behavior.
As the study’s author, Prof. Anna Magda It is well known that the incidence of cardiovascular disease (and deaths from it) is largely related to lifestyle factors. The main ones are: diet, smoking, lack of physical activity and associated diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome or Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood serum.
– Cardiovascular diseases are the most serious cause of death in Poland and most developed countries – says the professor. Magda. – […] Global data indicate a positive relationship between religiosity and survival, and a beneficial effect of religiosity in reducing coronary heart disease, cancer or mental disorders.
2. Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Spencers. What are they sick with?
The study was conducted on a group of 297 people: 118 Seventh Day Adventists, 134 Catholics, 14 Jews, and 31 Muslims. Catholics are the largest religious community in Poland, according to the Central Statistical Office, approx. 32 million Poles have been baptized, although a large group does not practice. In addition, 10-12 thousand people permanently live in our country. Muslims 8-12 thousand Jews and about 10,000 Seventh-day Adventists.
All study participants underwent anthropometric, physical, and laboratory testing, as well as cardiovascular risk assessment on the SCORE scale. They also asked about addiction and eating habits, knowledge of cardiovascular disease, physical activity, and exposure to various diseases Psychosocial factors (including stress), comorbidities and medications taken etc.
3. What is the effect of religion on health?
Scientists from Jagiellonian University note that:
- The mean concentration of homocysteine and triglycerides among Catholics was significantly higher (16 μmol/) than among Seventh-day Adventists (13 μmol/),
- The Adventists had a lot High blood pressure and HDL levels With regard to Catholics,
- Catholics were more often overweight and obese than Seventh-day Adventists, so the overall risk of a cardiovascular event was much higher than it is among Seventh-day Adventists,
- Adventists had lower levels of stress in everyday life than other religious groups and were better at adhering to recommendations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease,
- homocysteine levels C-reactive protein and cholesterol They were the highest among the Muslims.
- Jews had the highest levels of triglycerides and glucose
- The blood pressure is higher than the normal rate in less than a quarter of the Muslims and a little more than a quarter of the Jews.
- 2/3 Muslims and 1/3 Jews declared high physical activity,
- Every ten Muslims and every fifth Jew smokes cigarettes.
- It was often characteristic of Muslims Low to moderate levels of stressAnd the
- In Jews, stress was defined as high and medium,
- Muslims exhibited more health-promoting eating habits than Jews.
In terms of the intensity of religious adherence, Catholics performed significantly worse than other religious groups. 75% of the respondents declared a high level of religiosity. of them, while the ratio among Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims and Jews surveyed was 100%.
– It is interesting Catholics with high religious commitment reported more positive health behaviors And they gave better health than those who were less religious. Although they also showed a higher level of stress, a worse mental attitude and less physical activity – the professor confirms. Magda.
And he concludes that the selected lifestyle elements related to health differ significantly from the recommendations of Catholics, and even less – among Adventists.
4. Holy books and health recommendations
In order to be able to determine whether the assumptions of individual religions focus on a healthy lifestyle or taking care of the body, scholars have studied, among other things, their scriptures or teachings.
Catechism for Catholics emphasizes the value of physical health and calls for concern for the health of citizens, including compliance with recommendations regarding treatment, care, rehabilitation, and diagnosis. However, she cautions against the cult of the body, stressing the duty to take care of health, and criticizing drug and alcohol abuse.
When it comes to smoking, he takes this view It is not inappropriate, wrong or harmful to use it in moderation. Same thing with alcohol.
Judaism views man as a unity of body and soul and imposes on him a duty to take care of his body, and therefore health, as explained by the professor. Magda.
She explains that childbirth, newborn care, and circumcision are linked to many hygiene regulations. There are associations whose members care for patients. She adds that washing your hands after getting up, before eating, after using the toilet or after trimming your nails is a religious duty.
For the mental health of Jews, they are the most serious cause of death in Poland, and it is important to maintain a proper rhythm of life, in which the observance of the Sabbath plays a decisive role. Jews should also take care of an adequate level of physical activity.
The condition for the health of the body and soul in Islam is belief in God and sincere surrender to His will. According to the scriptures of this religion, fasting, regular prayer, and pilgrimage are free from daily tensions and troubles, and give a sense of community. In Islam, preventive measures include Prohibitions: Drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs, eating pork. It is recommended to exercise, eat right and rest.
According to Adventists, the body should be given an appropriate dose of exercise and rest, Eat the healthiest possible diet and abstain from foods that are considered unclean. Since improperly used alcohol, tobacco, narcotics and drugs are harmful to the body, they should be avoided, and instead use “what directs the mind and body to the obedience of Christ.”
It is clear, then, that in the individual religious teachings of religions there are references to concern for health and the physical. However, it is not easily followed in all groups.
– We are not surprised by these results. We expected that lifestyle components selected and health status determined on the basis of different criteria would deviate more from recommendations for cardiovascular disease prevention in Catholics. It was so – confirms prof. Magda.
– The strength of our study lies not only in identifying the declared health behaviors of representatives of selected religious groups, but also in diagnosing their state of health – concludes the author of the article.
The researcher suggests that public health practitioners, including nurse practitioners, should develop culturally specific educational interventions that take into account cardiovascular risk factors and the risk of cardiovascular events among adherents of different faiths.
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