Document Type



Previous research indicates rising levels of body fat composition in Americans. One contributing factor may be an individual’s degree of religiosity. Although not all, most studies have found religiosity to negatively impact body mass index (BMI) and obesity levels. Minimal research has been conducted regarding the relations between religiosity and body fat percentage. Not only do the overall increasing trends in body fat composition cost the American people between $48 and $68 billion per year in medical care, but excess body fat increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Religious factors have been shown to play a role in body fat composition, and thus determining the relations between religiosity and total body fat percentage will provide additional strategies in decreasing health risks and diseases among various population groups. Purpose: The aim of this study is to describe and analyze the relations between an individual’s total body fat percentage and their religiosity. Methods: 23 subjects between the ages of 18 and 90 (Mean=20.1 years, SD=2.36) were recruited to participate in this study. Upon arriving at the Biokinetics assessment space, subjects were given the IRB; completed the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL); were measured for height (Mean=85.02kg, SD=36.24), weight (Mean=85.02kg, SD=36.24), and blood pressure (Mean=120.9/73, SD=10.79/8.56); and were scanned by the Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry machine (DXA). The DUREL is a five question assessment used to assess each subject on three major dimensions of religiosity. All data collection was completed in one, thirty-minute session. Once data collection was complete, SPSS was used to assess the relations between the DUREL scores and the DXA body composition measurements to produce a Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: A Pearson Correlation Coefficient was conducted between each of the three religiosity variables- organized religious activity (ORA), non-organized religious activity (NORA), and intrinsic religiosity (IR)- and both the total body fat composition percentage (body fat %) and the android mass percentage to gynoid mass percentage ratio [Android (%)/Gynoid (%)] were measured. No significant relations were found between the ORA and NORA aspects with either body measure nor between IR and Android (%)/Gynoid (%) (p>0.05). Significance was found between body fat % and IR and produced a moderately-strong, positive correlation value (p= 0.027 and r=0.459). Conclusion: The lack of significance and weak correlation values between the ORA and NORA components and the body composition measures prevent any conclusive relations. The significant and moderately strong correlation between IR and body fat %, however, may indicate that those with a higher degree of internal religious motivation also have a higher total body fat percentage. Thus, individuals with a high degree of religious motivation may have less motivation for maintaining physical health.

Publication Date



Associated course: HAS495 Biokinetics Symposium