The impact of religiosity on dietary habits and physical activity in minority women participating in the Health is Power (HIP) study

Prev Med Rep. 2016 Dec 21;5:210-213. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.12.012. eCollection 2017 Mar.


African American (AA) and Hispanic/Latina (HL) women report lower rates of physical activity (PA) and poorer dietary habits compared to their white counterparts. Religiosity can act as a protective factor for health; however, the relationship between religiosity, PA, and diet is unclear. This study aimed to investigate the influence of religiosity on PA and fruit and vegetable (FV) and fat consumption in minority women. Health is Power (HIP) was a 6-month intervention where participants (AA: 63%; HL: 37%) were randomized to a PA or FV group. Questionnaires assessed religiosity at baseline and PA, FV and fat consumption at baseline and post-intervention. Hierarchical linear regression models were used to investigate religiosity as a predictor of change in PA, FV and fat, while controlling for demographics. AA women had significantly higher religiosity scores (M = 44.15, SD = 10.66) compared to H/L women (M = 35.11, SD = 12.82; t(251) = 5.86, p < 0.001). Across both groups, PA increased by 15%, FV intake increased by 27%, and consumption of calories by fat decreased by 5%. Religiosity was not a significant predictor of PA or diet (p < 0.05). The results of this study found no association between religiosity and change in PA and diet. More longitudinal studies are needed to explore the role of religiosity in the health of minority women.

Keywords: African-Americans; Community health planning; Ethnic groups; Exercise; Female; Food; Food habits; Health status disparities; Hispanic Americans; Nutrients; Religion.