Programme no. 355-P
Body, spirit and age - Health and spirituality in the SHARE cohort
Merethe Andersen*1, Niels Christian Hvidt2, Karen Andersen-Ranberg3
1Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, SDU,Odense,Denmark, 2Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, SDU,Odense,Denmark, 3Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography. Geriatrics. Danish Aging Research Center,Department of Public Health, SDU,Odense,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: The objectives of the present proposed study is to compare associations between SpR, BMI, health and longevity in an internationally comparable aging population in order to investigate whether there is an association between SpR and health and what role BMI might play in such association.
Background: A multidisciplinary and substantial body of research indicates a positive correlation between Spirituality/Religiosity (SpR) and health and longevity. One possible theory for such findings could be that people with high SpR may have lower BMI than people with low SpR. In fact, religious notions as the body as temple of the Spirit or similar religious emphases on the link between body and spirit may advance attention to both bodily and mental healthy behavior and religion has indeed been found associated with lower BMI and healthy behavior.
Results: Preliminary analyses show that some measurements on religiosity; i.e. prayer and meditation, are associated with poorer health, whilst self reported church going shows the opposite association. Associations on SpR and BMI and aging are to be analyzed.
Material/Methods: The Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) constitutes an internationally acclaimed aging cohort that will be employed in this study. It is a cross-disciplinary longitudinal study on 50+ year old Europeans covering 19 countries, which uses a harmonized questionnaire, which is administered by a face-to-face Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI). The participants are revisited bi-annually. The questionnaire addresses the participants’ SpR, health, health behavior, anthropometric measurements, social network, financial situation, employment status, living conditions and many other things. (www.share-project.org). The first SHARE wave was launched in 2004, the second in 2006 and so forth. Currently wave 6 is being carried through.
Conclusion: Health seems to be associated with certain religious practices. However, the associations are equivocal, suggesting that poor health calls for prayer, whereas church going may indicate an intrinsically motivated social, mental and lifestyle behavior associated with good health. More research is needed to gain insight into the complex relations between SpR and health.
Points for discussion:
Do you work actively with your knowledge about the patients’ SpR? Which possibilities do you see in active working with SpR? In which way do you think, that health is influenced by SpR?