Religious practices, spirituality associated with higher levels of heart health among African Americans

Woman sits with arms folded and eyes closed

A research study of African Americans with cardiovascular disease suggests religious practices and spirituality may contribute to heart health. The study's authors assert that recognizing the importance of religious practices and spirituality in the lives and health of African Americans may be key to improving patient care and reducing heart health disparities in African American communities.

African Americans are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease, compared to the general population. Those differences are driven by underlying cardiovascular risk factors, as well as social and economic inequality, according to a report from the American Heart Association.

"I would encourage health care professionals to initiate dialogue about religiosity and spirituality with their patients as part of comprehensive social history taking and patient-centered approaches to health care delivery," says LaPrincess Brewer, M.D., a Mayo Clinic preventive cardiologist and first author on the study. "I would also encourage researchers to consider these factors when designing heart health interventions."

This study was supported by Clinical and Translational Science Award grant UL1 TR000135 and grant KL2 TR002379 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

CTSA Program In Action Goals
Goal 1: Train and Cultivate the Translational Science Workforce
Goal 2: Engage Patients and Communities in Every Phase of the Translational Process
Goal 3: Promote the Integration of Special and Underserved Populations in Translational Research Across the Human Lifespan