Religiosity and body mass index and waist circumference among male and female university students from 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

SOURCE: Gender and Behaviour
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Pengpid, K.Peltzer
KEYWORDS: BODY MASS INDEX (BMI), OBESITY, RELIGION, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, YOUNG WOMEN
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10774
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/13615
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/13615

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Abstract

Obesity has become a major public health problem. The study aimed at investigating the association between religiousness, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference (WC). In a cross-sectional survey, undergraduate university students from 26 countries responded to a questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. The total sample included 18211 university students (57.9% female and 42.1% male). The mean BMI for men was 22.5 and for women 22.0, and the men WC for men was 78.4 and for women 73.8. The mean organized religious activity involvement was 3.8 among men and 3.7 among women (range 1-6). Non-organized religious activity involvement was higher among female students (3.4) than male students (3.0) (range 1-6), and women had higher intrinsic religiosity scores (11.2) than men (10.8) (range 3-15). In linear multivariable regression among women, adjusted for sociodemographic, psychosocial and lifestyle factors, an association between religiosity (organized religious activity, non-organized religious activity and intrinsic religiosity) and increased BMI and non-organized religious activity and intrinsic religiosity and increased WC was found. While among men, intrinsic religiosity was associated with increased WC, and among women, medium organized religious activity was negatively associated with increased WC. The study confirmed a relationship between religious involvement and increased BMI among women and increased WC among women and men.