Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 17
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Geok, Soh Kim Yusof, Aminuddin Lam, Soh Kim Japar, Salimah Leong, Ong Swee and Fauzee, Mohd. Sofian Omar 2015. Physical Activity and Health-Promoting Lifestyle of Student Nurses in Malaysia. Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, Vol. 03, Issue. 03, p. 78.

    Park, Crystal L. and Iacocca, Megan O. 2014. A stress and coping perspective on health behaviors: theoretical and methodological considerations. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, Vol. 27, Issue. 2, p. 123.

    Wilmoth, Joe D. Adams-Price, Carolyn E. Turner, Joshua J. Blaney, Abigail D. and Downey, Laura 2014. Examining Social Connections as a Link Between Religious Participation and Well-being Among Older Adults. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, Vol. 26, Issue. 2-3, p. 259.

    Shor, Eran and Roelfs, David J. 2013. The Longevity Effects of Religious and Nonreligious Participation: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 52, Issue. 1, p. 120.

    Tan, Min-Min Chan, Carina K. Y. and Reidpath, Daniel D. 2013. Religiosity and Spirituality and the Intake of Fruit, Vegetable, and Fat: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 2013, p. 1.

    Antonucci, Toni C. Ashton-Miller, James A. Brant, Jennifer Falk, Emily B. Halter, Jeffrey B. Hamdemir, Levent Konrath, Sara H. Lee, Joyce M. McCullough, Wayne R. Persad, Carol C. Seydel, Roland Smith, Jacqui and Webster, Noah J. 2012. The Right to Move: A Multidisciplinary Lifespan Conceptual Framework. Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, Vol. 2012, p. 1.

    Resnick, Barbara and Avers, Dale 2012. Geriatric Physical Therapy.

    Stevens, Carol J. 2010. Obesity Prevention Interventions for Middle School-Age Children of Ethnic Minority: A Review of the Literature. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, Vol. 15, Issue. 3, p. 233.

    McCabe-Sellers, Beverly J. Chenard, Catherine Ann Lovera, Dalia Champagne, Catherine M. Bogle, Margaret L. and Kaput, Jim 2009. Readiness of food composition databases and food component analysis systems for nutrigenomics. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 22, p. S57.

    Hye-Cheon Kim, Karen Alex Mcintosh, WM. Kubena, Karen S. and Sobal, Jeffery 2008. Religion, Social Support, Food-Related Social Support, Diet, Nutrition, and Anthropometrics in Older Adults. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, Vol. 47, Issue. 3, p. 205.

    Park, Crystal L. Moehl, Bennett Fenster, Juliane R. Suresh, D. P. and Bliss, Debbie 2008. Religiousness and Treatment Adherence in Congestive Heart Failure Patients. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, Vol. 20, Issue. 4, p. 249.

    HOVERD, WILLIAM JAMES and SIBLEY, CHRIS G. 2007. Immoral Bodies: The Implicit Association Between Moral Discourse and the Body. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 46, Issue. 3, p. 391.

    Kaput, Jim 2007. Personalized Nutrition.

    Tabacchi, Garden Giammanco, Santo La Guardia, Maurizio and Giammanco, Marco 2007. A review of the literature and a new classification of the early determinants of childhood obesity: from pregnancy to the first years of life. Nutrition Research, Vol. 27, Issue. 10, p. 587.

    Hart, Alton Tinker, Lesley Bowen, Deborah J. Longton, Gary and Beresford, Shirley A.A. 2006. Correlates of Fat Intake Behaviors in Participants in the Eating for a Healthy Life Study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 106, Issue. 10, p. 1605.

    Jones, James W. McCullough, Laurence B. and Richman, Bruce W. 2005. The ethics of odd ideas, good science, and academic freedom. Journal of Vascular Surgery, Vol. 41, Issue. 6, p. 1074.

    Tseng, Marilyn 2004. Social circumstances and dietary intake. Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 7, Issue. 06,


Religion, social support, fat intake and physical activity

  • Karen Hye-cheon Kim (a1) and Jeffery Sobal (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2007

Most research on diet and exercise has focused on these health behaviours as proximate causes of disease, rather than examine the context of how diet and exercise are developed and maintained. This study examined religion and social support in relationship to fat intake and physical activity.

Design, setting and subjects:

Data from surveys of 546 adults aged 17–91 years, residing in one upstate New York county, were analysed.


Most relationships between the multiple facets of religion, fat intake and physical activity were not statistically significant. After controlling for demographics and social support, Conservative Protestant women and women specifying an ‘Other’ religious affiliation reported higher fat intakes than did Catholic women. There were no relationships between religion and fat intake in men. In women, religious commitment was associated with greater moderate and vigorous physical activity, whereas in men, divine social support was associated with greater moderate physical activity. Social support did not substantially change the magnitude of the relationships between religion, diet and physical activity.


Overall, there were few relationships between religion, fat intake and physical activity, suggesting that in contemporary US society religion may play a small role in the context of how diet and exercise are developed and maintained. The limited range of religiosity in the sample, however, may have underestimated the role of religion. Significant relationships between religion and physical activity in women suggest that further research is needed to more clearly delineate religion's relationship with health behaviours.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Religion, social support, fat intake and physical activity
      Your Kindle email address
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Religion, social support, fat intake and physical activity
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Religion, social support, fat intake and physical activity
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2B Shatenstein , P Ghadirian . Influences on diet, health behaviours and their outcome in select ethnocultural and religious groups. Nutrition 1998; 14: 223–30.

4GE Fraser . Diet as primordial prevention in Seventh-Day Adventists. Preventive Medicine 1999; 29: S18–23.

5PN Duckro , P Magaletta , A Wolf . Health behaviors in religious communities. In: DS Gochman , ed. Handbook of Health Behavior Research III: Demography, Development, and Diversity. New York: Plenum Press, 1997; 305–22.

6HG Koenig , JC Hays , LK George , DG Blazer , DB Larson , LR Landerman . Modeling the cross-sectional relationships between religion, physical health, social support, and depressive symptoms. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 1997; 5: 131–44.

7CG Ellison , JS Levin . The religion-health connection: evidence, theory, and future directions. Health Education & Behavior 1998; 25: 700–20.

8CG Ellison , LK George . Religious involvement, social ties, and social support in a southeastern community. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1994; 33: 4661.

9DE Bradley . Religious involvement and social resources: evidence from the data set ‘Americans’ Changing Lives'. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1995; 34: 259–67.

10LA Kirkpatrick , DJ Shillito , SL Kellas . Loneliness, social support, and perceived relationships with God. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 1999; 16: 513–22.

11DR Brome , MD Owens , K Allen , T Vevaina . An examination of spirituality among African American women in recovery from substance abuse. Journal of Black Psychology 2000; 26: 470–86.

13RA Hardert , TJ Dowd . Alcohol and marijuana use among high school and college students in Phoenix, Arizona: a test of Kandel's socialization theory. International Journal of Addictions 1994; 29: 887912.

14K Kelsey , JL Earp , BG Kirkley . Is social support beneficial for dietary change? A review of the literature. Family & Community Health 1997; 20: 7082.

16PA Murphy , TE Prewitt , E Bote , B West , FL Iber . Internal locus of control and social support associated with some dietary changes by elderly participants in a diet intervention trial. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2001; 101: 203–8.

17T Stahl , A Rutten , D Nutbeam , A Bauman , L Kannas , T Abel , The importance of the social environment for physically active lifestyle–results from an international study. Social Science & Medicine 2001; 52: 110.

18I Patterson , M Chang . Participation in physical activities by older Australians: a review of the social psychological benefits and constraints. Australasian Journal of Ageing 1999; 18: 179–85.

19AJ Salazar , SL Becker , V Daugherty . Social support and smoking behavior: the impact of network composition and type of support on cessation and relapse. Southern Communication Journal 1994; 59: 153–67.

20WA McIntosh , PA Shifflett , JS Picou . Social support, stressful events, strain, dietary intake, and the elderly. Medical Care 1989; 27: 140–53.

21JR Terborg , J Hibbard , RE Glasgow . Behavior change at the worksite: does social support make a difference? American Journal of Health Promotion 1995; 10: 125–31.

22A Steptoe , J Wardle , R Fuller , A Holte , J Justo , R Sanderman , Leisure-time physical exercise: prevalence, attitudinal correlates, and behavioral correlates among young Europeans from 21 countries. Preventive Medicine 1997; 26: 845–54.

25JF Sallis , MF Hovell , CR Hofstetter . Predictors of adoption and maintenance of vigorous physical activity in men and women. Preventive Medicine 1992; 21: 237–51.

26SE Parks , RA Housemann , RC Brownson . Differential correlates of physical activity in urban and rural adults of various socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2003; 57: 2935.

27E Leslie , N Owen , J Salmon , A Bauman , JF Sallis , SK Lo . Insufficiently active Australian college students: perceived personal, social, and environmental influences. Preventive Medicine 1999; 28: 20–7.

28M Chogahara , SO Cousins , LM Wankel . Social influences on physical activity in older adults: a review. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 1998; 6: 117.

29B Shatenstein , P Ghadirian , J Lambert . Nutritional intakes and some health-related behaviours in ultra-orthodox (Hassidic) Jewish sects in Montreal. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 1993; 44: 105–21.

30K Mullen , R Williams , K Hunt . Irish descent, religion and food consumption in the west of Scotland. Appetite 2000; 34: 4754.

31JE Chliaoutakis , I Drakou , C Gnardellis , S Galariotou , H Carra , M Chliaoutaki . Greek Christian Orthodox ecclesiastical lifestyle: could it become a pattern of health-related behavior? Preventive Medicine 2002; 34: 428–35.

32PJ Waite , SR Hawks , JA Gast . The correlation between spiritual well-being and health behaviors. American Journal of Health Promotion 1999; 13: 159–62.

33JM Wallace Jr TA Forman . Religion's role in promoting health and reducing risk among American youth. Health Education & Behavior 1998; 25: 721–41.

34D Neumark-Sztainer , M Story , C Perry , MA Casey . Factors influencing food choices of adolescents: findings from focus-group discussions with adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1999; 99: 929–34, 937.

35WA McIntosh , PA Shifflett . Dietary behavior, dietary adequacy, and religious social support: an exploratory study. Review of Religious Research 1984; 26: 158–75.

36WJ Strawbridge , SJ Shema , RD Cohen , GA Kaplan . Religious attendance increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2001; 23: 6874.

37RM Merrill , AL Thygerson . Religious preference, church activity, and physical exercise. Preventive Medicine 2001; 33: 3845.

38PR Steffen , AL Hinderliter , JA Blumenthal , A Sherwood . Religious coping, ethnicity, and ambulatory blood pressure. Psychosomatic Medicine 2001; 63: 523–30.

39KH Kim , J Sobal , E Wethington . Religion and body weight. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2003; 27: 469–77.

41CK Jacobson . Religiosity and prejudice: an update and denominational analysis. Review of Religious Research 1998; 39: 264–72.

42B Steensland , JZ Park , MD Regnerus , LD Robinson , WB Wilcox , RD Woodberry . The measure of American religion: toward improving the state of the art. Social Forces 2000; 79: 128.

44KI Pargament , BW Smith , HG Koenig , L Perez . Patterns of positive and negative religious coping with major life stressors. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1998; 37: 710–24.

49R Landerman , LK George , RT Campbell , DG Blazer . Alternative models of stress buffering hypothesis. American Journal of Community Psychology 1989; 17: 625–42.

50KI Baghurst , PA Baghurst , SJ Record . Demographic and dietary profiles of high and low fat consumers in Australia. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1994; 48: 2632.

52MS Kaplan , JT Newsom , BH McFarland , L Lu . Demographic and psychosocial correlates of physical activity in late life. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2001; 21: 306–12.

53RD Woodberry , CS Smith . Fundamentalism et al: Conservative Protestants in America. Annual Review of Sociology 1998; 24: 2556.

54HJ Keselman , R Cribbie , B Holland . The pairwise multiple comparison multiplicity problem: an alternative approach to familywise and comparisonwise type I error control. Psychological Methods 1999; 4: 5869.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *