Online Program

Religious identity and health status among israeli jews: Opportunities for interventions

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Ephraim Shapiro, PHD, MPA, MBA, Health Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
Background: While a growing body of evidence has shown an association between religiosity and health outcomes, there is still inadequate research about religiosity and health status among smaller religious and ethnic groups. This is particularly true among Israeli Jews whose distinctive religious and sociocultural attitudes and behaviors may lead to different results than other groups, with concomitant implications for interventions. Objectives: This study sought to assess physical and mental health outcomes for Israeli Jews, comparing outcomes by religious identity and examine potential opportunities for faith-based interventions targeting them.

Methodology: The random-sample Israel National Health Survey was analyzed. Both physical and mental health status measures were used, including specific disease burden. Religious identity category was based on self-report and included 5 groups. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed for health outcomes using religious, ethnic, socioeconomic and other demographic factors. Chi-square statistics were produced. Key informant interviews with Jewish religious and community leaders were performed.

Results: Almost 3600 Israeli Jews were surveyed. Associations were found between religious category and several measures of health, with physical health status measures having the strongest evidence of relationships with religiosity. Variations in health existed, with differences by religious and ethnic dimensions. Opportunities for potentially low-cost faith-based interventions were identified.

Conclusion: Religious identity is associated with health status measures for Israeli Jews. Efforts to target the needs of different religious groups and take their varying characteristics into account are important to successful systematic faith-based health-promotion interventions for Israeli Jews.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess health characteristics and needs of Israeli Jews Identify variations among Israeli Jews in with differing levels and types of religiosity in physical and mental health outcomes Discuss the implications of these findings for developing innovative interventions to benefit those who are part of or influenced by a faith community

Keyword(s): Religion, Ethnicity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive training and experience in research related to the connection between religion and health, in particular for speciufic ethnic groups. I have disseminated widely on this topic at conferences and in publications.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.