Religious involvement and healthy lifestyles: evidence from the survey of Texas adults

Ann Behav Med. 2007 Oct;34(2):217-22. doi: 10.1007/BF02872676.


Background: Although research shows that religious involvement is associated with a wide range of individual health behaviors, it has yet to be determined whether the effect of religious involvement extends to an overall pattern of regular health practices that may constitute a lifestyle.

Purpose: Building on prior research, we test whether religious individuals tend to engage in healthier lifestyles than individuals who are less religious.

Methods: Using data collected from a statewide probability sample of 1,369 Texas adults, we estimate a series of ordinary least squares regression models to assess the net effect of religious involvement on overall healthy lifestyle scores.

Results: The results of our study indicate that religious individuals do tend to engage in healthier lifestyles, and this pattern is similar for men and women and across race/ethnic groups. We also find some evidence to suggest that the association between religious involvement and healthy lifestyles may be less pronounced in old age.

Conclusions: Assuming that religious involvement is associated with healthier lifestyles, additional research is needed to account for these patterns. Future studies should also consider whether healthy lifestyles may serve as a mechanism through which religious involvement might favor health and longevity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Texas