Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Do Religious People Love Their Neighbors? Yes — Some Neighbors

From the January 2014 Baylor University press release

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 6.15.31 AM

Jan. 23, 2014

Follow us on Twitter:@BaylorUMediaCom

Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Jan. 24, 2014) — Most religions teach their followers to “Love thy neighbor” — including those of different races, nationalities or beliefs. But is religiousness really related to love of neighbors?

A Baylor University study provided partial support for that idea. When factoring out the level of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), researchers found a positive association between being religious and having loving attitudes toward other racial and ethnic groups but not toward those who violated their values.

The study was published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

The study was based on analysis of data collected from 389 religiously diverse adult Americans in a 200-question online survey. Among participants were Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, those with no religion and “others.” “Religiosity” generally was defined in terms of frequency of religious activities. Researchers studied positive feelings toward different groups, such as African-Americans, atheists, gay men and lesbians.

Previously, researchers usually tested the “love thy neighbor” hypothesis indirectly by measuring degrees of prejudice or withholding generosity, said researcher Wade Rowatt, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. Prior research indicated that religiousness is not positively associated with love of neighbors.

But that approach did not account for the role of rigid ideologies – such as right-wing authoritarianism – in influencing the relationships, said researcher and lead author Megan Johnson Shen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Prejudice or not giving resources is different from liking or compassion toward a group that is not one’s own, the researchers noted.

“Until now, we’ve never really tested whether religiosity is related to love of neighbors” as evidenced by positive or tolerant attitudes toward those of different races, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, Rowatt said.

Shen said that the present study addressed prior limitations by examining the relationship between religiosity and liking or “love” of one’s neighbor once the influence of RWA has been removed from this relationship.

The right-wing authoritarians were identified by how strongly they agreed to such statements as “There are many racial, immoral people in our country today, trying to ruin it for their godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action;” and how strongly they disagreed with such statements as “Everyone should have their own lifestyle, religious beliefs and sexual preferences, even if it makes them different from everyone else.”

“Statistically speaking, right-wing authoritarianism appears to suppress the positive relationship between religiosity and love of neighbor,” Rowatt said. “The bottom line is that religiousness is linked with love of neighbor, as measured with surveys. The next step is to observe actual rates of volunteerism and helping to see if what people say and do match.”

ABOUT BAYLOR

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES

The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Impulsive Personality Linked to Food Addiction

From the 24 January 2014 ScienceDaily article

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 5.51.27 AM

The same kinds of impulsive behavior that lead some people to abuse alcohol and other drugs may also be an important contributor to an unhealthy relationship with food, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

In a paper published recently in the journal Appetite, researchers found that people with impulsive personalities were more likely to report higher levels of food addiction — a compulsive pattern of eating that is similar to drug addiction — and this in turn was associated with obesity.

“The notion of food addiction is a very new one, and one that has generated a lot of interest,” said James MacKillop, the study’s principal investigator and associate professor of psychology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “My lab generally studies alcohol, nicotine and other forms of drug addiction, but we think it’s possible to think about impulsivity, food addiction and obesity using some of the same techniques.”

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting them at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars, and obese people pay an average of $1,429 more in medical expenses than those of normal weight.

MacKillop and doctoral students Cara Murphy and Monika Stojek hope that their research will ultimately help physicians and other experts plan treatments and interventions for obese people who have developed an addiction to food, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle.

The contemporary food industry has created a wide array of eating options, and foods that are high in fat, sodium, sugar and other flavorful additives and appear to produce cravings much like illicit drugs, MacKillop said. Now they will work to see how those intense cravings might play a role in the development of obesity.

“Modern neuroscience has helped us understand how substances like drugs and alcohol co-opt areas of the brain that evolved to release dopamine and create a sense of happiness or satisfaction,” he said. “And now we realize that certain types of food also hijack these brain circuits and lay the foundation for compulsive eating habits that are similar to drug addiction.”

Read the entire article here

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

[CDC reports] 2013 Prevention Status Reports

The [2013] Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of public health policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce important public health problems.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 5.22.41 AM

 

Related Reports and Analyses

The Guide to Community Preventive ServicesExternal Web Site Icon
A compilation of the evidence-based findings of the Community Preventive Services Task Force showing what works to improve health

County Health Rankings External Web Site Icon
A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examining the health and well-being of people living in nearly every county in the United States

America’s Health RankingsExternal Web Site Icon
An annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by state basis published jointly by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention

Trust for America’s HealthExternal Web Site Icon
Data on key health indicators and other indicators for each state and the District of Columbia

Healthy People 2020External Web Site Icon
Science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans

CDC Vital Signs
Recent data and calls to action for important public health issues

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: