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Religious Hindu and Sikh immigrants, not Muslim, likelier to be obese

Discussion in 'Health & Nutrition' started by spnadmin, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Religious Hindu and Sikh immigrants, not Muslim, likelier to be obese

    http://www.business-standard.com/ar...slim-likelier-to-be-obese-113071900422_1.html

    Religiosity in Hindus and Sikhs - but not Muslims - appears to be an independent factor associated with being overweight or obese, a new study has suggested.

    Asian Indians are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, and roughly half a million people of Indian ancestry live in California - more than any other state.

    Individuals from this group are strongly predisposed to obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease, due in large part to physical inactivity, diets low in fruit and vegetables, and insulin resistance.

    Study's primary investigator, Dr. Nazleen Bharmal, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said that this is the first known study to examine the relationship between religiosity and obesity among Asian Indians in the US and among traditional Asian Indian religious subgroups.

    She said that these different subgroups have different practices: Muslims may abstain from alcohol or avoid pork, and Hindus and Sikhs may eat only plant foods.

    Bharmal said that the team was surprised to find an association between religiosity and obesity for Hindus and Sikhs but not Muslims.

    The researchers used data from the 2004 California Asian Indian Tobacco Survey, a telephone survey of 3,200 adult Asian Indian residents of California.

    The researchers posit that people who are more religious may be more likely to be overweight or obese because religious organizations tend to place greater emphasis on avoiding vices other than gluttony, they may provide a welcoming environment for those seeking refuge from the social stigma of obesity, and religious gatherings often involve the consumption of food and drink.

    There are several possible explanations, the researchers said, for why there appears to be a link between religiosity and weight status among Hindus and Sikhs but not among Muslims.

    First, there were fewer Muslims in the dataset, so there may have been too few to see an impact.

    Second, there are differences in religious practices: Hindus and Sikhs may adhere to a vegetarian diet but drink alcohol heavily or eat food high in saturated fat or refined sugar at frequent religious and social gatherings, while Muslims abstain from alcohol and practice 30 days of daytime fasting during Ramadan, which may decrease their risk for weight gain.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I don't think "religiosity" is the correct term. The researchers probably mean "religious affiliation." Religiosity refers to how committed one is to practicing religion on a regular basis. There was nothing in the article that tied "religiosity" to obesity. As in, the more you attend services, adhere to rules and regulations of one's erligion, or study religious texts, etc., the more likely you are to be obese. The study did not make that connection.

    The researchers were comparing obesity in 3 different religious groups or affiliations. Correct me if I got it wrong. Dietary habits were discussed, and type of food consumed is related to obesity. However, diet and religiosity were only weakly connected through vegetarian diets and possible alcohol consumption. Neither eating veg nor drinking alcohol defines "religiosity" in the full extent of the word. And what about all the Sikhs we know who are thin as rails?
     
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    #2 spnadmin, Jul 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  4. angrisha

    angrisha
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    I think the article also assumes that those who were studied were practicing sikhs or hindus. We can so often place ourselves into those affiliations like you mentioned but not actually practice. The study seemed to assume that the individuals actually are vegetarian, which in the west isn't as likely. Secondly, the types of food choices and weather they are first or second generation makes a difference. I can tell you, my parents and grandparents eat Roti every day... I do pretty good with 4-5 times a week (on a good week)... so I really wouldn't take this article at face value.
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    angrisha ji

    You are right! And there were about 6 more questions I had about this related to family factors. Nothing is known about how the sample was drawn or where Nothing is known about sample descriptors. If the research is based on collections of past medical records a significant percentage of the sample could have suffered from a variety of medical problems associated with family traits. Very strange information.
     
  6. dalsingh1zero1

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    A few years ago, on a lovely summers day, I walked down the famous Green Street in East London which is a majority Asian area. One thing I noticed clearly that day was how the elderly Muslim men were almost invariably not seriously obese. However a BIG portion of the elderly visibly Sikh men I saw were .....and not only that, they seemed to use walking sticks a lot more than their Muslim counterparts and many seemed to 'hobble' when walking.

    Just personal observations.
     
  7. SaintSoldier1699

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    The article is very loose and states its "likely" but to be "religious" is a big assumption - as its meaning is different to every individual (especially if they think drinking alcohol is all good!).

    Diet, especially in the western world is in excess as a standard and then again how would "obese" have been classified in the study? Flawed from the outset, just to create an article.

    It would be interesting to see the results of a thorough study. :singhsippingcoffee:
     
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