Noncommunicable diseases and social determinants of health in Buddhist monks: An integrative review

Publication Name

Research in Nursing and Health


The prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing worldwide. Buddhist monks in Thailand play a critical role in health as community leaders accounting for 0.3% of the population. However, some monks require treatment and hospitalization to alleviate the burden of NCDs due to religious beliefs and practices during ordainment. Risk factors for NCDs among Buddhist monks, and the relationship to social determinants of health (SDH) remain unclear. This integrative review examined the prevalence of NCDs and explored the relationship between SDH and health outcomes among Buddhist monks. Cohort, descriptive, and correlational studies published in both English and Thai languages were identified from the PubMed, Science Direct, CINAHL, and Thai journal databases. Keywords included “Thai Buddhist monks,” “non-communicable diseases,” and “prevalence”. Twenty-two studies were selected. Obesity and hypertension were the most prevalent NCDs. Religious beliefs and practices influence SDH domains and play an important role in the lifestyle and health behaviors among Buddhist monks. Further understanding of the impact of the religious lifestyle is needed, particularly given the role and influence of monks in society.

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