A cross-sectional survey of health and health behaviours of individuals attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Coventry

  • Chantal Tomlinson

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy

Abstract

Introduction
Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) are a religious group in which extensive research has been conducted on the American population of SDAs which express the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Many of the SDA community in the United States of America (USA) look to the church for their teaching on health. SDAs teach, support and preach directly about specific health interventions and principles, many of which mirror mainstream health promotion messages, but with a different rationale. However, there is a lack of published studies on the health of this population group in the United Kingdom (UK). In addition to this, the SDA church within the UK is predominantly of black ethnicity. Within society black individuals are evidenced to experience an increased risk of chronic disease such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Additionally, Coventry is a ‘Marmot’ city, with high-levels of health inequality and deprivation with Coventry reported to have worse health than the rest of England. This study sought to investigate the health and health behaviours of SDAs at the main church congregation in Coventry to assess whether the conditions prevalent in the black community were evident in this sample of predominantly black SDAs who also adhere to specific religious health teachings.

Aim
To undertake a cross-sectional study of the health and health behaviours of SDAs at the main church congregation in Coventry.

Methods
This study followed a cross-sectional study design. Forty-seven participants were recruited from the Coventry Central SDA Church using convenience sampling. A health needs survey used by the health ministries leaders in the SDA church was adapted to improve validity and was completed by each participant. Questions were asked on their lifestyle behaviours such as fruit and vegetable intake and exercise. Measures of body composition and blood pressure were taken. The results were presented descriptively, and regression analysis applied to investigate the associations between the where individuals first seek help in times of sickness, and their health status.

Results
The participants were mostly female (57%, n=29) aged 18 – 62 years. Most were of black ethnicity (92% n=46). Most of those surveyed were obese with waist circumferences that put them at severe risk of heart disease (78%) and most had blood pressure within the healthy range. Iron deficiency anaemia was the most common health condition and many take iron supplements. There were no current smokers or consumers of alcohol in this sample. Most participants were active and had 7-9 hours of sleep daily. A vegetarian diet was the most commonly followed special diet and the mean consumption of fruit and vegetables was 5 portions daily. When asked about the source that is sought most commonly for help with health, God was the highest-ranking. There was no association between where people seek help from first and their health behaviours or health status. Conclusions Obesity and iron deficiency anaemia were prevalent in this sample. The rates of obesity, but not of type 2 diabetes, smokers or alcohol consumers, exceeded that reported for the non-SDA black UK population. The reasons for this need investigating further and specifically tailored health promotion for this population group may be helpful.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorDeborah Lycett (Supervisor), Michael Duncan (Supervisor) & Anne Couffopolous (Supervisor)

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