Self-Care by Muslim Women during Ramadan Fasting to Protect Nutritional and Cardiovascular Health
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AuthorLópez Bueno, Marta; Fernández Aparicio, Ángel; González Jiménez, Emilio; Montero Alonso, Miguel Ángel; Schmidt RioValle, Jacqueline
López-Bueno, M.; Fernández-Aparicio, Á.; González-Jiménez, E.; Montero-Alonso, M.Á.; Schmidt-RioValle, J. Self-Care by Muslim Women during Ramadan Fasting to Protect Nutritional and Cardiovascular Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12393. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph 182312393
The practice of Ramadan involves a series of changes in lifestyle, mainly in eating habits. The research aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of overweight-obesity, the degree of compliance with dietary recommendations and the effects of religious fasting on cardiovascular health among a population of Muslim women living in Melilla, a Spanish city in North Africa. A follow-up cohort study was conducted on 62 healthy adult women (33.6 ± 12.7 years). Anthropometric and body composition parameters were obtained using bioimpedance and dietary records. All of the participants were overweight or obese, especially due to the non-compliance with dietary recommendations; however, more than 60% considered their weight was appropriate or even low. By the end of Ramadan, the women’s body mass index and fat component values had fallen significantly (p < 0.001), but this loss was later recovered. Dietary records revealed an excessive consumption of lipids and sodium, and the presence of a high waist-to-hip ratio. All of these factors are related to cardiovascular risk. In conclusion, promoting nutritional health and encouraging year-round self-care among adult Muslim women is necessary in order to ensure healthy fasting during Ramadan.