How Does Religious Perspective Affect the Population Health?
There are various factors that affect health status of a population. For example the health status of a population can be affected by poor eating habits. Most people are not able to eat healthily as they have no enough money to buy a balanced diet. Also, they are not given advice on how to keep their bodies health. Another factor that affects the health of a population is religion. The religion affects health status of a population in different ways. For example, the religious beliefs and values cause poor attitude and pessimism. This leads to poor health in the given population. There are various religions in the world with various religious beliefs. The religions beliefs and values differ from one society to another. For example, the Hinduism religion has affected the health status of the Indian population. Health problems have become a major issue in many countries.
People have different views on how religion affects the health status of a population. This has led to increase in the number of research on religion and health. Researchers from different fields like health sciences and social sciences have carried out research to determine how religion affects the health status of a community. The research carried out by the scientists, clinical officers and other researchers’ shows that religion has both negative and positive effects on health. First, religion has affected mental health positively. It has helped reduce the rate of mental disorders in the society. Also, religion has helped improve the outcome of treatment in the society. The treatment of depression in the Indian community has become effective because of religious interventions. Religion has helped prevent illness in the society like heart diseases, cancer etc. It has also negative effects on the health of Indian community. It has led to increase in iron deficiency among Indian women. It has led to increase in deaths and affected the outcome of the medical treatment. This paper analyzes how Hinduism religion affects the health status of the Indian population.
Health problems have become common in the society. People have blamed various factors for causing health problems. For example, people have blamed televisions and cultural factors for causing health problems. Television and cultural factors have caused a lot of harm to the population in different parts of the world like India. They have led to poor eating habits in the population and increase in diseases. It has also changed the attitude of many people in the society. Though, the television and cultural factors are the major causes of health problems in the society, religion has a big influence on the health status of the population. The composition of the population in the world has changed greatly. This has made the population in the world diverse. Also, many religions have come up as a result of diversity. This is because the population in the world has cultural and religious beliefs that are different. There are various religions in the world. That is Hinduism, Christianity etc. The religions have different beliefs and values (William & Sternthal, 2007).
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. The Hinduism religion is dominant in India. The religion consists of 14 % of the world population. Hinduism has different beliefs and values from Christianity and religion. There are over 1200 studies that have analyzed the relationship between religious beliefs and health indicators. The studies found a positive connection between religious beliefs and health. The topic has become a major concern in the society and many scientists are interested in carrying out research to determine if there is a connection between religion and health. Most people do not know the meaning of the word spiritual and religion. Spiritual has different meanings to different people. Religion refers to features of belief and behavior that are linked to the supernatural and are developed in a religious community. The level of religious beliefs in the world is high. Most Indians believe that their religious beliefs and behaviors affect their health. Most people in India pray and believe in their god as they believe that prayer has more strength and it enhances their health (William & Sternthal, 2007).
Many people have carried out research to show how religion has affected the health of the population. The study carried out showed that there is a great relationship between religious involvement and healthy. The findings from the study indicate that religious beliefs and values give a strong framework for interpreting events and experiences in the society. Religious belief and values help in eliminating health problems in the society. They help eliminate problems like smoking and immoral behaviors in the society. This helps promote good health among the population. A large percentage of people who are inclined to a certain religion like Hinduism are less likely to smoke than people who are not involvement in religious activities. Hinduism beliefs teach the people not to be involvement in unhealthy behaviors like smoking. Also, they do not involve themselves in immoral behaviors. This is according to the study carried out by William and Sternthal to determine the relation between religion and health (William & Sternthal, 2007).
Researchers like Aukst-Margetic and Margetic in their research argue that religion has played an important role in promoting health status in the population. For example, religious beliefs and values help people coped up with loss, anxiety and pain. It also helps people cope up with suffering. Mental disorders have become a major issue in the society. Most people in the society suffer from mental disorders like depression and anxiety. The mental disorders result from various factors. Depression and anxiety result from loose of loved ones, pain and poor living standards. The factors have led to increase in mental disorders among the population. Most people in the society have poor living standard. This has led to increase in poor health in the society. Men and women from poor families have involved themselves in unhealthy behaviors.
For example, men and women from poor families chose smoking of tobacco and taking illegal drugs as the option to overcome problems caused by stressful life. Men and women taking tobacco and other illegal drugs are likely to get health complications and diseases than men and women who are not taking illegal drugs. Religion has helped improve the living standards among the population. They have provided social and economic support to the population. Researchers like Brown and Lawrence argue that religion has changed the life of many people in India and other parts of the country by providing better living standards. The Hinduism religion gives economic and social support to the Indian population and this helps improve their health. Religious involvement in health care services has reduced the use of tobacco and other drugs. The number of people using illegal drugs and tobacco has reduced. The researchers claim that many people have chosen to abstain and others have reduced the intake of tobacco and other drugs. Thus, religion affects health status of a population positively as long as it is used well. This is according to a research carried out by Aukst-Margetic and Margetic (Aukst-Margetic & Margetic, 2005).
Another study carried out by David Williams and Michele showed that religion like Hinduism is related to health as it helps promote good health in the Indian population. The results from the study carried out by David and Michele to determine effects of religious involvement on health showed that religion has positive effect on mental health. The researchers studied 17 participants and found out that religious attendance and intrinsic religion have positive impact on anxiety. The participants used in the study showed reduced anxiety as a result of religious involvement. Extrinsic religion is also associated positively with anxiety. Religions like Hinduism can help reduce the level of anxiety among the residents. This is because people who are involved in religious activities get spiritual guidance and this helps overcomes anxiety. There are various causes of anxiety as indicated above. Anxiety can result from mental problems, drug abuse and poor living standards. Religions like Hinduism help reduce the factors causing anxiety and this lowers the level of anxiety among the community. David and Michele reviewed a total of 17 studies and found similar results. The studies showed that religion reduces anxiety among the Indian population and any other population (William & Sternthal, 2007).
David and Michele claim that religion can help treat depression among patients having depression. The researchers argue that there is an inverse relation between religion and depression. This is according to a report from Meta analysis of 1q47 studies. The studies revealed that religion can promote depression among the population. Also, religion can reduce depression among the participants if religions put measures to eliminate factors causing depression (William &Sternthal, 2007).
The studies showed that Hinduism religion plays an important role in treatment of depression like other religions. The randomized trials used in the study showed that therapies that are developed using spiritual contents are more successful than therapies that are not built using spiritual content. The therapies that are inline with spiritual content helped reduce the symptoms of depression among the participants unlike the non spiritual therapies. The researchers argued that the spiritual argument therapies helped improve treatment among the patients. Also, the therapies improve adherence and reduced the risk of relapse (William & Sternthal, 2007).
Moreover, the same studies established that Hinduism religion like other religions in the world has helped overcome problems faced by adolescents. The research carried out on adolescent behaviors found that high levels of religious involvement are inversely related to low levels of irresponsible behavioral am on the adolescents. This is according to adolescent studies carried out in the Australian school by William and Michele. The studies revealed that adolescents who are involved in Hinduism religion are less likely to involve themselves in sexual activity, drug use and smoking. This has helped reduce the rate of sexually transmitted infections among the adolescents (William & Sternthal, 2007).
Further, a Meta analysis study of more than 49 religious studies found that positive ways of religious coping led to low levels of depression, anxiety and distress among the Indian population. Also, negative methods of religious coping were linked with poor psychological adjustment (Ano & Vasconcelles, 2006). In addition, the studies of religious beliefs and coping among patients having HIV/AIDs in the Indian community. The researchers showed that spirituality and Hinduism religion have positive impact in the patients as they help improve immune system. David, Mitchell, Ano and Vasconcelles in their studies argue that religion like Hinduism religion is connected to immune system functions. Hinduism religion encourages Patients having HIV/AIDs in the Indian community to live a normal life like other people in the community. This enhances the strength of the immune system. Depression and loose of hope weakness the immune system and this affects how they functions. This leads to high deaths among the patients (D’Souza & George, 2006).
Hinduism religion has helped improve the health of the Indian population by eliminating diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Hinduism religion encourages health behaviors in the society. For example, Hinduism religion encourages the society to avoid unhealthy behaviors like smoking and unhealthy eating habits. This helps prevent diseases like cancer, heart diseases and lung disease. Hence, Hinduism religion encourages good health in the community (Stefanek, McDonald & Hess, 2005).
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials indicated that religious prayer played an important role in coronary diseases. The review carried out by Rew,Wong and Stefanek, McDonald and Hess showed that religious prayers like Hinduism payers helped improve health outcome in people having coronary diseases. It also helped increase the chances of survival among children having leukemia. Psychotherapy that is based on the Hinduism religion speeded recovery among patients having anxiety and depression (Rew & Wong, 2006).
A study of patients having various diseases carried out Ano, Vasconcelles, Benson, Dusek and Sherwood showed that religious doubts and religious straggle were connected with a higher risk of mortality. Also, some studies have shown that apart from socioeconomic factors, religious beliefs have also led to increase in obesity among the members in the society. Some religions encourage the populations to feed on certain foods (Ano & Vasconcelles, 2006). The religions do not consider the effects of the foods on the population. Some foods have led to increase in obesity and other diseases in the community. The number of Asians having eating disorders has increased for the last decades. The eating disorders are common among people having Indian background. The increase in eating disorders results from poor eating habits among the Asian community. The researchers argue that the eating disorders can be eliminated by providing good eating habits to the community (Rew & Wong, 2006).
Another study carried out by Kanani, Poojara, Thune-Boyle, Stygall and Keshtgar to determine the effects of religion on eating habits. The study showed that people from India living in United Kingdom have eating disorders than other women. Women of south Asian origin living in United Kingdom have suffered from anemia. This is according to a study carried out by Kanani and Poojara (Kanani &Poojara, 2000). The study was carried out at the National primary care research and development centre in the University of Manchester. The research showed that the high prevalence of iron deficiency among women from south Asia results from cultural and religious restrictions. The Hinduism religion restricts women from eating certain foods.
The research interviewed women from Pakistan and Indian living in United Kingdom. The findings from the study showed that women from south Asia valued high menstrual flow than women from other countries. The women believed that the blood was dirty and impure and they could get rid of it by having a heavy menstruation. The Asian women believed that scarce periods result to increase in weight and pain. Also, the periods do not help eliminate the dirty blood from the body. The research claimed that when women have high menstrual flow avoid taking hot foods like fish, eggs and meat. This makes it difficulty for the women to have enough iron in their bodies. Most Asian women having Menorrhagia do not seek medical attention from the doctors because of the shortage in female doctors (Kanani & Poojara, 2000).
Results from the study have shown that attitudes towards menstrual periods and blood have led to high iron deficiency among women from India and other parts of Asia. The researcher attributes the deficiency to religious beliefs held by the community (Kanani & Poojara, 2000).
Analysis / interpretation
Positive effects of Hinduism religion on health status of the Indian community
The impacts of religion on health have been felt in different parts of the world. The Hinduism religion has affected Indian women, girls and men differently. This is according to studies carried out in different parts of the world. For instance, Indians living in different parts of the world like Australia have had health problems like iron deficiency, cancer and blood pressure. There is a clear connection between religion and health. This is according to the studies shown in the literature reviews above. Religion can affect the health of a community positively or negatively. Religion promotes health living standards in the community. Religion promotes health in the Indian community in different ways.
First, religion helps eliminate behaviors that are not good in the society. Drug abuse, smoking and immorality have become a major concern in the society. They have led to increase in diseases and death in the society. Religion has helped overcome the issues caused by drug abuse, smoking and immorality. Religion has reduced the rate of smoking, drug abuse and immorality in the society. Most people have noticed the importance of Hinduism religion in the Indian community. The religion has provided counseling and spiritual, support to people in the society. People who are more argument to religious activities are less likely to commit crime, smoke and misuse drugs as it is against the beliefs of the Hinduism religion. This has reduced the level of deaths in the society (Thune-Boyle, Stygall & Keshtgar, 2006).
In addition, religion has helped overcome mental illness. Mental disorders are common in the society and they affect the health of people in the society. This is according to the information provided in the literature reviews. Depression and anxiety are some of the mental disorders caused by poor living standards and other factors. Religion has helped overcome such factors so as to promote mental health. It has helped improve the living condition and spiritual wellbeing of the members (Benson, Dusek & Sherwood, 2006).
Religion has also affected health in terms of outcome. It has helped improve treatment outcome in some diseases. For instance, it has helped improve the treatment of depression. This is because religion provides social support to people having depression and anxiety. Hence, it improves their treatment. Patients having depression are provided with therapies that incorporate spiritual components. The therapies have proved more effective than normal therapies (Benson, Dusek & Sherwood, 2006).
Negative effects of Hinduism religion on health status of the community.
Religion has negative effects on health. This is according to the research carried out to determine the effects of religion on health. Hinduism religions like other religions have also negative effects on health of a community. Researchers argue that religion like Hinduism has been used to justify hatred and aggression in the community. It has also been used to promote prejudice in the society. Additionally the researchers claim that religion is also judgmental at one point and alienating and exclusive. Hinduism like other religions has been used to judge other people in the Indian community. It has also encouraged alienation and exclusion in the community. This has promoted poor health in the Indian community as people in the community have suffered from depression, anxiety and other diseases. They have also involved themselves in irresponsible behaviors, thus affecting their healthy (Lee & Newberg, 2005).
Though religious participation in the Indian community or any other community may encourage beneficial social networks, it promotes health problems. Social relationships may be a source of stress in the Indian community. For example, people in the society may find it difficulty to interact with other members. This may affect their health. Failure to comply with the norms set by the Indian community may lead to criticism by other religious members in the community. This in turn led to feeling of religious guilt among the members. In addition, the members feel that they have failed to meet the religious objectives and expectations of the Hinduism community. Researchers claim that this contributes to illness in the community. Hence, affecting the health status of the members affected (Kim, 2007).
Moreover, Religion has had an adverse effect on health care services. It has affected medical treatment and patient out come. This has rendered medical treatments and therapies ineffectiveness. Researches argue that most parents in the world have relied on faith healing instead of seeking the right medical care. This has led to poor health among the patients and even death. Clinicians argue that reliance on faith healing, but not medical services has affected the outcome of many treatments and resulted to death. It has affected the outcome of disease treatment among young children and adults. Most patients suffering from heart diseases, cancer and HIV/AIDs have opted to seek for spiritual or religious healing, but not medical treatment. This has made it difficulty for the patients to recover from the diseases. Clinicians argue that the patients are not always prepared to get medical treatments and therapies. This makes the treatment and therapy ineffective (Lee & Newberg, 2005).
Some kinds of religious coping in the world like Hinduism coping may adversely affect health in the community. Researchers have associated extrinsic religious orientation with increased depression among the members of the community. They claim that depression has led to increase in levels of depression and symptoms of depression among the members. Also, negative religious coping has also been linked with increased symptoms of depressions. Negative interpersonal religious experiences and criticism of the congregation have also affected the health of the congregation as they have led to increase in symptoms of depression. This is mostly among adolescents.
Lastly, religion affects mortality in the Indian community. There is an inverse relationship between religion and mortality. The studies carried out to determine the effects of religion on health showed that religion affects mortality rate. The research showed that people who have not attended religious services are more likely to die than those who attend religious activities. This is because religious promotes health behaviors and reduces the risks of having any diseases. For example, it reduces the risk pf contracting sexual transmitted diseases among adolescents. This reduces the mortality in the group; People who do not attend religious services are more likely to involve in unhealthy behaviors like drug abuse and smoking. This increases the causes of death among the group (Kim, 2007).
Consequently, religion affects the life expectancy in the Indian community. Life expectancy for people aged twenty who attend religious services is 7.5 more than those who did not attend religious services. The study showed that active religious involvement increased the life expectancy among the congregation up to 26%.The results showed that religion increased the life expectancy among women more than men. This is because Indian women receive more psychosocial support from religion than men. From the analysis, it is clear that religion like Hinduism affect the health of the population (Lee & Newberg, 2005).
Since religions and religious beliefs have negative effects on health, religious leaders have to change religious beliefs so as to promote good health. The religious leaders from Hinduism religion leaders should train the Indian community on how to live a health life without being influenced by the religious beliefs. Women in Indian community have developed poor attitude towards menstrual periods and this has affected their health. This is according to the studies shows in the literature reviews above. The religious leaders can overcome poor eating habits, negative attitudes towards menstrual periods by promoting health religious beliefs. Though religion has positive effects on health, it also destroys the health of the community. This is according to the health indicators used in the studies to shows the effects of religion on health. The leaders should encourage women to eat foods rich in iron so as to prevent anemia among Indian women. Also, women should be taught how to eat health foods, but not prevent women from eating some foods (Kim, 2007).
Religion and health are related as religion has helped promote health among the Indian community. Religion has helped improve health status in the community through various ways. First, religion helps promote mental health in the society. This is mainly by eliminating factors that cause mental disorders. Mental disorders result from various factors. They result from poor living standards, drug abuse etc. Religion has helped prevent depression and anxiety among the Indian community. This is because religion has established better living standards in the community. It has helped improve social economic life in the society. The literature review above has shows that religion has helped eliminate depression. Also, religion has also helped reduce diseases in the society.
For example, the rate of heart diseases, cancer and lung diseases has reduced because of religion. This is because people in the society have stopped smoking and using illegal drugs. This has enhanced health in the community. People who do not attend religious services or activities are likely to suffer from various diseases unlike those who attend religious services. This is because they do not get spiritual guidance on how to live healthily. They indulged themselves in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and sexual activities. Religion has helped overcome such behaviors.
Researchers claim that religion has increased mortality and life expectancy among the Indian community. People who attend religious services are less likely to die unlike those who do not. This is because religion teaches people how to live well. Also, it provides social and spiritual support to the community. Religion has also increased the life expectancy in the society as many people have adapted good behaviors. Apart from promoting health, religion has also negative effects. Religion affects the outcome of medical treatment and therapies. This is because most people tend to rely on faith healing, but not drugs. This forces them to avoid medical services. The number of people relying on faith healing in India and other countries has increased. This is because people are more inclined to religion than other activities. This has resulted to more deaths as people do not get treatment. Also, people have found it difficulty to get well as religion affects the outcome of the medicine. Religion also promotes poor eating habits and disorders among the Indian community. This is shown in the analysis above. Religion forces people to eat unhealthy foods and this result to more diseases and death.
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