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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

Church Attendance Is Good For Your Health

Posted by addisethiopia on July 10, 2017

The latest in a long line of studies, now numbering in the hundreds if not thousands, has found that church attendance is good for your health.

Published by researchers from Vanderbilt University, the study found that middle-aged adults who attended religious services at least once in the past year were half as likely to die prematurely as those who didn’t.

Using data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study’s researchers examined 10 biological stress markers among 5,449 men and women aged 46 to 65. Then they compared those markers with respondents’ self-reported religious-service attendance — and found a correlation between religious-service attendance, lower stress, and longevity.

The study, released in May, is one more piece of mounting scientific evidence on the subject. A far larger study published last year, of 74,534 women, found that attending a religious service more than once a week was associated with 33 percent lower mortality compared to never attending religious services.

A documentary probing findings similar to these — released just recently — is airing on many PBS stations this weekend. But even as the studies pile up and the literature appears close to conclusive, many questions about the association between religious-service attendance and health remain unanswered.

For one, people attend religious services for all kinds of reasons. So what is it about faith-focused services that might impart better health? The prayers? The social connections? The coffee and cookies afterward?

If, as so much evidence suggests, religious attendance is correlated with positive health outcomes, does that mean doctors should prescribe a weekly service to their patients?

“Religion is incredibly complex,” said Neal Krause, a retired professor of public health at the University of Michigan who is the lead investigator in a landmark spirituality and health survey. “To say, ‘Church attendance is good for your health’ does everything and nothing at the same time. The question is, ‘What exactly is going on here?'”

But some studies at the intersection of religion and health might help clinicians do a better job of caring for patients.

For example, studies have shown that chaplain visits in hospital settings are associated with better health outcomes. This stands to reason, say researchers; when patients’ spiritual needs are met, they are more satisfied with their overall care. Another study suggested patients that take advantage of chaplain visits are more peaceful and feel more in control of their health.

Source

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