Religion, spirituality linked to healthier hearts in Black patients

Mayo Clinic researchers found religious lifestyles and spirituality are linked to healthier heart outcomes in Black patients.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association Sept. 6, followed nearly 2,900 people in the Jackson, Miss. area. Researchers used the AHA's assessment tool called Life's Simple 7 which measures risk factors linked to cardiovascular health: diet, weight, physical activity, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and smoking. Each factor is categorized as ideal, intermediate or poor.

Researchers found people who engage in religious or spiritual activities have overall better heart health outcomes.

Here are four findings:

  • Those who regularly attend religious services or activities are more likely to score ideal or intermediate in the diet, smoking and blood pressure categories.
  • Those who regularly have private prayer are 12 percent more likely to have high scores in diet and 24 percent more likely not to smoke.
  • Those who use religious beliefs to cope with stressful events were at least 10 percent more likely to score ideal or intermediate in physical activity, diet and smoking categories.
  • Those who maintained a spiritual life perspective were 11 percent more likely to have high scores in physical activity and 36 percent more likely to be nonsmokers.

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