The impact of Ramadan on lifestyle behaviours and implications for cardiac rehabilitation: A review

Felicity South, Dominic Upton, Penney Upton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Introduction: The Muslim population worldwide have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease than that of the non-Muslim population, and this may become exaggerated during the religious observances of Ramadan. This review assessed the evidence regarding the impact of Ramadan on lifestyle behaviours in Muslims with cardiovascular disease.

Method: This article reviews the literature concerning the impact of Ramadan on lifestyle behaviours and its effects on cardiac rehabilitation between 2000 and 2012. Studies were identified, using Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar, PsycInfo, PsycARTICLES, Medline and CINAHL Plus. The search terms used were: 'cardiac rehabilitation'; 'cardiovascular disease'; 'Ramadan'; 'fasting'; 'physical activity'; 'exercise'; 'diet'; 'smoking'; 'sleep'; 'behaviour change'; 'medication'; and 'treatment'.

Findings: Evidence suggests that fasting during Ramadan can have a beneficial effect on factors such as cholesterol levels, body weight and blood pressure; however, benefits are rarely sustained in the long term. Other behavioural changes such as non-adherence to medication, and diet and exercise regimes have more negative consequences for sufferers of cardiac disease.

Conclusions: Lifestyle behaviours adopted during Ramadan can have a negative impact on cardiovascular disease. Health professionals are urged to find innovative ways to engage this population in healthy lifestyle choices throughout this period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


Cite this