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Religious Older Women More Apt to Keep Active

Armen Hareyan's picture

Women and Religion

As a group, older women lead the ranks of too-sedentary Americans, but a new study suggests that those who are religious are also more observant about keeping active in old age.

Older women who attend religious services frequently are more likely to participate in leisure-time physical activity, according to the study from researcher R. Frank Gillum, M.D., a physician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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That association between physical activity and devotion did not hold true for older religious men or religious younger adults, the study said.

The study, which analyzed data for 11,820 people from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, appears in the latest issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. It is the first national examination of the link between religiousness and physical activity, Gillum said.

The analysis did not explore what makes older religious women more active. But Gillum said his work uncovers some interesting possibilities, considering that social scientists know that older women