Win-Win: Go to Church, Live Longer ...
Religious services aren’t just good for your soul — they might be good for your health.
A new study published by the American Medical Association, says that those who attend church services more often actually have a better chance of staying alive in the long run.
Over a 20-year span, the study surveyed a group of more than 76,000 female nurses, most of whom were Catholic and Protestant. At the end of 20 years, more than 13,000 of them had died. The women who went to religious services more than once a week, it turned out, were 33 percent less likely to be in that group who died, compared to those who never attended services.
Tyler VanderWeele, a researcher at Harvard’s school of public health who co-wrote the study, said the effect diminished as the study participants decreased their service attendance. Those who attended services once a week saw their odds of dying go down 26 percent. For those who attended less than weekly, the odds of dying decreased 13 percent, VanderWeele said.
That led the study’s authors to a striking recommendation: “Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate,” they wrote.