Attending religious services boosts health, prolongs life: Study
A new study shows that attending religious services like those at mosques, churches or synagogues may help you live longer.
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“We found in our study that actually attending church is actually good for your health, particularly for those who are between the ages of 40 and 65,” said Marino Bruce, the associate director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Research on Men’s Health, in a video posted on Vanderbilt University's website on Friday.
The study showed reduced mortality risk by 55% for those middle-aged adults who go to churches, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship.
The study on “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” was published in the Plos One journal in May.
“For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
A worshiper holds rosary beads during Catholic mass at the Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem on Christmas Day. (File photo)
For the study a total of 5,449 participants of both sexes and races were recorded. The researchers used publicly available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
“I'm ordained clergy so I'm always about what do we mean by our spiritual health. Does spiritual health matter with respect to biological outcomes?” Bruce added.
The study focused on the participants' survey results, analyzing their worship attendance, mortality and allostatic load, which is a physiological measurement, and social support.
Congregants praying at the Kadoorie Synagogue in Porto, Portugal. (File Photo)
Bruce further emphasized, “While churches are places where people can get social support, we actually found that and began to think about whether compassion is particularly important — feeling that you're doing good or having empathy for others.”