Religious fasting and its impacts on individual, public, and planetary health: Fasting as a “religious health asset” for a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable society

Khaled Trabelsi, Achraf Ammar, Mohamed Ali Boujelbane, Luca Puce, Sergio Garbarino, Egeria Scoditti, Omar Boukhris, Saber Khanfir, Cain C. T. Clark, Jordan M. Glenn, Omar A. Alhaj, Haitham Jahrami, Hamdi Chtourou, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi

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    Religious fasting is practiced by people of all faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, as well as Hinduism, Judaism, and Taoism. Individual/clinical, public, global, and planetary health has traditionally been studied as separate entities. Nevertheless, religious fasting, in conjunction with other religious health assets, can provide several opportunities, ranging from the individual to the population, environmental, and planetary levels, by facilitating and supporting societal transformations and changes, such as the adoption of healthier, more equitable, and sustainable lifestyles, therein preserving the Earth's systems and addressing major interconnected, cascading, and compound challenges. In this review, we will summarize the most recent evidence on the effects of religious fasting, particularly Orthodox and Ramadan Islamic fasting, on human and public health. Further, we will explore the potential effects of religious fasting on tackling current environmental issues, with a special focus on nutrition/food restriction and planetary health. Finally, specific recommendations, particularly around dietary intake during the fasting rituals, will be provided to ensure a sustainable healthy planet.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1036496
    Number of pages21
    JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
    Early online date24 Nov 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022

    Bibliographical note

    © 2022 Trabelsi, Ammar, Boujelbane, Puce, Garbarino, Scoditti, Boukhris, Khanfir, Clark, Glenn, Alhaj, Jahrami, Chtourou and Bragazzi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms


    • Nutrition
    • faith-based fasting
    • sustainability
    • nutrition
    • lifestyle
    • global health
    • public health


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