Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 4/4/2006 3:15:52 AM EDT

Churchgoers Live Longer
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 03 April 2006
11:29 am ET


There are many things you can do to increase your life expectancy: exercise, eat well, take your medication and ... go to church.

A new study finds people who attend religious services weekly live longer. Specifically, the research looked at how many years are added to life expectancy based on:

* Regular physical exercise: 3.0-to-5.1 years
* Proven therapeutic regimens: 2.1-to-3.7 years
* Regular religious attendance: 1.8-to-3.1 years

The role of religion

The study, which is actually a review of existing research from the three categories, does not reveal what the link between faith and health might be.

"Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy," said study leader Daniel Hall, a resident in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "While this study was not intended for use in clinical decision making, these findings tell us that there is something to examine further."

Hall is also an Episcopal priest.

"The significance of this finding may prove to be controversial," he said. "But at the very least, it shows that further research into the associations between religion and health might have implications for medical practice."

In a telephone interview, Hall speculated that the social aspect of religion could play a role in the results: "There is something about being knit into the type of community that religious communities embody that has a way of mediating a positive health effect," he told LiveScience. Perhaps, he said, being involved in a religion "can then decrease your level of stress in life or increase your ability to cope with stress."

Another possibility: "Being in a religious community helps you make meaning out of your life," Hall suggested.

The findings are detailed in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Cost-effective

Hall also looked at the cost of these three approaches, examining typical gym membership fees, therapy costs from health insurance companies and census data on average household contributions to religious institutions. The estimated cost of each year of additional life apparently gained by each method:

* Regular physical exercise: $4,000
* Proven therapeutic regimens: $10,000
* Regular religious attendance: $7,000

Hall cautions that few conclusions can be drawn from his study, and that further research is needed. "There is no evidence that changing religious attendance causes a change in health outcomes," he said.

But he said doctors and researchers might want to think of religiousness as a demographic factor.

"For example," he writes in the journal, "the incidence of gastric cancer is higher among Japanese men, and knowledge of this fact might guide a physician to initiate early and frequent screening for gastric cancer among male Japanese patients." Likewise, the thinking goes, knowing a person's religious practices might prove useful in evaluating their condition and suggesting potential treatments.

www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060403_church_good.html

The irony is that the people who aren't religious will find out who is right 1.8-3.1 years sooner than the believers.....

Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:03:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

Churchgoers Live Longer
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 03 April 2006
11:29 am ET


There are many things you can do to increase your life expectancy: exercise, eat well, take your medication and ... go to church.

A new study finds people who attend religious services weekly live longer. Specifically, the research looked at how many years are added to life expectancy based on:........

The irony is that the people who aren't religious will find out who is right 1.8-3.1 years sooner than the believers.....




They said church-goers, not believers. Plenty of people sitting in pews who are there to be seen and don't believe a bit of it.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:09:44 AM EDT
Yes, but you waste years sitting in a hard pew listening to blather. Especially those people who go twice a week.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:12:34 AM EDT
Eternal life is a wonderful thing.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:20:18 AM EDT
To sum matters up, regular church attenders live longer due to their reduced weight. These members do take a weekly fleecing so, they are lighter, less risk of heart failure!

I know, I'll burn in hell for that one...
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:20:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mjohn3006:
Eternal life is a wonderful thing.



+1
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:21:05 AM EDT

"There is something about being knit into the type of community that religious communities embody that has a way of mediating a positive health effect,"


I believe that spiritual wellbeing can affect one's overall sense of wellbeing. If you are a true believer (not one of those arse on pew because that's what everyone else does types), the feelings of peace and joy you carry with you after worship are going to release those 'feel good' hormones. When I go to church, I leave feeling energised and happy and peaceful, worship recharges my soul, if you like. The mind does play a part in immune function, stress suppresses the immune system, so it's common sense that pursuits which give you a sense of peace and wellbeing are going to have an effect on your health.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:22:44 AM EDT
They'd probably live even longer if they posted in the Religion Forum.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:23:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/4/2006 5:23:45 AM EDT by livefreeordieNH]

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

"Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy," said study leader Daniel Hall, a resident in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "While this study was not intended for use in clinical decision making, these findings tell us that there is something to examine further."

Hall is also an Episcopal priest.






Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:24:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mjohn3006:
Eternal life is a wonderful thing.


So is the Easter bunny, Saint Nick and every other fantasy.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:25:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:27:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:

Originally Posted By mjohn3006:
Eternal life is a wonderful thing.


So is the Easter bunny, Saint Nick and every other fantasy.



I don't know about eternal, worms can only eat so much. Bones last millions of years, or a few thousand, depending on who you ask.


Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:29:36 AM EDT
Guess my time is about up. The last time I was in church I was about 6 or 7. So figure it has been about 17 years since I have been in a church. (minus my brothers wedding last year)
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:29:50 AM EDT


Originally Posted By mjohn3006:
Eternal life is a wonderful thing.



Just don't talk about it eternally, okay?
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:36:04 AM EDT
I'd rather die a year or two earlier.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:40:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By livefreeordieNH:

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
"Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy," said study leader Daniel Hall, a resident in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "While this study was not intended for use in clinical decision making, these findings tell us that there is something to examine further."
Hall is also an Episcopal priest.





Follow the money...or, in this case, the bias.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 5:57:12 AM EDT
The will to live is strong. The psyche is tied in strongly with the immune system. That is why these 'studies' conclude that church attendence or prayer or whatever has some measurable effect on life outcome. The reality is that if you fight for your life, then so will your body, because it takes cues from the mind. This is well documented and studied. If you are terminally-ill and you have no will to live you are more likely to kick the bucket sooner. It's science, not the supernatural.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:05:34 AM EDT
Looks like regular exercise does even better.

It's a nice correlation, but not all that significant. Find the true causality or even better research it and not find it, then I'll be impressed.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:13:05 AM EDT
Or God punishes churchgoers by making them wait longer for Heaven?
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:15:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
Looks like regular exercise does even better.

It's a nice correlation, but not all that significant. Find the true causality or even better research it and not find it, then I'll be impressed.



Exactly.

It may be a matter of more disciplined people, and who are able to make the time to go to church - are also the ones who will be more successful at sticking with exercise, diets, and who are better able to balance work and home, in addition to whatever stress-reducing effects of religious worship, etc.

The question of causality is definitely a throny one - and raises the question of whether it is religiosity, or just regular attendance to something akin to "therapy"

In other words, the two "control" groups that the going-to-church-regularly crowd need to be compared to are:
- the very religious and observant people who pray a lot and practice their faith, but don't actually physically go sit in church
- the atheist who goes to some sort of meditation or group therapy or something once a week, for roughly the same amount of time.

Those two comparison groups (with statistical controls for socio-economics, diet, exercise, etc) woudl do a decent job of starting to pull some of the causality apart.


I'm such a nerd.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:18:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Hall is also an Episcopal priest.





When I announce the results of my grand study of mankind, concluding that Danes are smarter and more attractive than everyone else, y'all will believe it, right?
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:20:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dolanp:
The will to live is strong. The psyche is tied in strongly with the immune system. That is why these 'studies' conclude that church attendence or prayer or whatever has some measurable effect on life outcome. The reality is that if you fight for your life, then so will your body, because it takes cues from the mind. This is well documented and studied. If you are terminally-ill and you have no will to live you are more likely to kick the bucket sooner. It's science, not the supernatural.



I agree. There is much emphasis placed on the mind/body connection in treating cancer patients, for example. I think that any activity which produces those feel good hormones is going to have a positive effect on your health. I'd be interested to see how this study compares to a study of people who take regular exercise. Your health is the whole package; the physical, emotional/psychological and, if facing a life threatening disease, the spiritual (and that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with organised religion, but rather finding your way to some sort of inner peace as you face your own possible mortality).

Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:20:08 AM EDT
ROP'rs pray 5 times a day, they'll live forever!
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:23:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

When I announce the results of my grand study of mankind, concluding that Danes are smarter and more attractive than everyone else, y'all will believe it, right?



Amen and Hallelujah my brother!! (I've seen Miss Denmark.)
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 6:24:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:


The question of causality is definitely a throny one - and raises the question of whether it is religiosity, or just regular attendance to something akin to "therapy"





Could be ...

Statistically, studies have shown that cancer patients who belong to a support group and who attend regular meetings tend to live longer than those who don't.

Link Posted: 4/4/2006 9:28:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Hall is also an Episcopal priest.





When I announce the results of my grand study of mankind, concluding that Danes are smarter and more attractive than everyone else, y'all will believe it, right?



I for one find myself drawn to the clicking of their quaint wooden shoes!
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 9:59:12 AM EDT
Regular churchgoers are more likely to be healthy, on account of their being able to leave the hospital, home or nursing home to go to church. They are also more active in their communities, which tends to make people happier, which causes longer life.

I doubt that believing has anything to do with it.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 10:07:51 AM EDT
Good bye and thank you for allowing me to be a member of this forum. I should be dieing soon.


______________________________



Top Top