New research reveals role faith institutions play in promoting good health

blood pressure

The University of York-led study showed that health professionals, working with faith leaders, can deliver effective, low-cost messages on how people can keep their blood pressure on the healthy side.

High blood pressure can lead to a range of health conditions such as heart disease, heart attack, and strokes.

The study, published in PLOS Global Public Health, found that faith institutions play a variety of roles, including:

  • Effective messaging around good cardiovascular health
  • Promotion of exercise or physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle
  • Advice on diet and nutrition for cardiovascular health
  • Teaching, training and encouragement for individuals to take control of their health
  • Promotion of regular blood pressure checks

The study was a review of 24 studies, with 39,540 individuals, the majority from the US.

Dr. Abayomi Sanusi, from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, said, “Most of the evidence of how well faith institutions can help communities comes from congregations of Black African and African American Christian adults.”

“Faith institutions offer low-cost, effective and sustainable solution to helping people maintain their blood pressure. Promoting health through faith institutions, holds unrealized potential to support and supplement healthcare systems, particularly in low-income, religious or underserved communities.”

Dr. Su Golder, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Health Sciences, said, “Although cultural and religious influences on human behavior vary across communities globally, this study provides evidence of the role that faith institutions have and the benefits of cardiovascular public health intervention.”

“These are potentially useful for the construction of community-based, long-term, meaningful, sustainable, and perhaps permanent interventions and solutions.”

More information:
Abayomi Sanusi et al, Cardiovascular health promotion: A systematic review involving effectiveness of faith-based institutions in facilitating maintenance of normal blood pressure, PLOS Global Public Health (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0001496

Journal information:
PLOS Global Public Health

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