Posts Tagged ‘health’

Amid violent protests and provocative films, religion journalists create global path to understanding

The recent upheaval associated with the release of a crude, anti-Islamic film shows how issues relating to faith can cross borders with startling speed and consequences. Now is the time for the type of knowledgeable, on-the-ground reporting that provides careful international perspective regarding the complex motives behind these events. Yet too often, limited by cultural biases, this broader understanding gets lost at home and abroad amid advocacy journalism and pack reporting that reinforce popular misconceptions or fears of religious minorities and religion in public life. But here is the great news. Change is coming with the new International Association of Religion Journalists.

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Obesity rising: Religion and food can be unhealthy combination

Other than sexuality, food is one of the most difficult topics for religious communities to talk about. Just how difficult is shown in new research indicating weight control is a notable exception to a generally positive record linking religious activitiy to positive health outcomes. In one study of some 5,500 women and men ages 45 to 84, participants were more likely to be obese the more religiously active they were. Each step of the way, from those never attending worship to those attending weekly, greater religious activity was associated with significantly higher rates of obesity.

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In God NFL players can trust: Teams, public pave path to deviance

Having it all – measured in terms of money, sex and public adoration – is no guarantee of happiness. Just ask Tiger Woods. Or listen to the stories of more than 100 current and former NFL players sociologist Eric M. Carter of Georgetown College was able to interview in a groundbreaking study of a world closed to outsiders. The public may idolize them, but elite athletes report high levels of both unhappiness and deviant behavior, Carter discovered. What does have a positive effect, the study found, is faith in God and access to a religious support system.

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Religion may help obese shed pounds, gain self-esteem

Obese Americans are finding churches, synagogues and mosques can promote exercise, healthier diets and improved self-images, new research indicates. But many severely overweight women, paralyzed by real and perceived prejudice, find it easier to be “couch-potato saints” than to go out in public for the spiritual and social support that can lead to better health. One new study found obese women were more likely to affiliate with a religious congregation, but less likely than other women to attend services or participate in congregational activities.

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Deaths of innocents challenge individual, social beliefs

Tragedies such as the recent Haiti earthquake that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocents call into fundamental question the idea that the world is overseen by a just and loving God. As individuals who lose loved ones navigate the stages of grief, including for many feeling anger at God, social and communal pressure for quick healing and avoidance of the difficult struggle to understand why terrible things happen to good people can add to their burdens.

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New insights into HIV prevention, Christian music and women in Islam

Common sense says one size does not fit all in approaches to human relationships. This may be particularly true in the more subjective experiences of the transcendent. Yet whether it is the emotionally charged subject of human sexuality or the culturally charged subject of women in Islam, there is a reluctance to give ground on our own social and political views to allow for different approaches and ways of understanding. Three recent studies provide insights into diverse data on subjects from AIDS education in Africa to teens’ response to Christian music to the reasons U.S. women convert to Islam. Some of the results may surprise you.

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Catholics, evangelicals play key role in health care debate

Religion counts in the politics of abortion. And some religious groups have far more clout than others in the debate. The issue of public funding of abortion perhaps more than ever holds the potential to tip the political balance with the prospects for comprehensive health care reform nearing life support. That makes the Catholic Church and evangelical groups key players in the conversation. Research shows their most committed members, the people they have the most influence over and are most likely to mobilize, are among the strongest supporters of restrictions on legal abortion.

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Religion in sickness and in health

One of the goods emerging from the debate over health care in the United States is all the healthy information emerging amid the often polarizing political rhetoric.Research on religion and well-being can play a key role in the conversation on public and private health issues. Some new research sheds light on mortality rates and religion, where religious consumers turn to in moments of crisis and the growing number of Americans unaffiliated with religion who say they want their funeral to be a secular affair.

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