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Is there any correlation between religion and health?

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Replies

  • msf74
    msf74 Posts: 3,498 Member
    Nah, I'd imagine the correlation if there is one would be rather weak.

    As others have said there may be a susceptibility to religion due to poverty and poverty leading to a susceptibility to poor health outcomes.
  • Old_Cat_Lady
    Old_Cat_Lady Posts: 1,200 Member
    edited August 2017
    @rashad read your answers. Ex:
    msf74 wrote: »
    As others have said there may be a susceptibility to religion due to poverty and poverty leading to a susceptibility to poor health outcomes.

  • Lavelle1980
    Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
    @rashad read your answers. Ex:
    msf74 wrote: »
    As others have said there may be a susceptibility to religion due to poverty and poverty leading to a susceptibility to poor health outcomes.

    I thought about that too, however, even in the South in areas that are considered poverty, the diseases are in the category of Diseases of affluence and not the diseases of poverty that you see in 3rd world countries.

    So the diseases of affluence is the same affect as someone in the upper, middle, and lower class, due to they fact that they are all considered wealthy since they have an abundance of resources to tap into.



  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    So the diseases of affluence is the same affect as someone in the upper, middle, and lower class, due to they fact that they are all considered wealthy since they have an abundance of resources to tap into.

    But it's not. We know in the US that the stats vary and track income level and education, among other things.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    So my issue I see among the religious groups is the higher expectation of living a prosperous lifestyle that sets itself apart from everyone else.

    I think you are over generalizing. I do not see a connection between a higher expectation of living a prosperous lifestyle and religion in my own background/religious affiliation. I would say that the prosperity gospel, if that is what you are talking about, is a very specific kind of religion.
    Growing up in church myself, I would see hundreds go to the alter call for prayer and most of the time it was for health related issues, only to see them go back and order a bucket of fried chicken from KFC.

    I believe you, but in my own religious tradition there aren't any altar calls, and I've never seen KFC as a church-associated meal. We do have occasionally food-related events, but the food chosen is not any different than what I'd see at other food-related events in the same area/city/general social groups. So again it might be the region and cultural background dictating what religious people in those areas do after church vs. the religion itself.
  • Lavelle1980
    Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    So my issue I see among the religious groups is the higher expectation of living a prosperous lifestyle that sets itself apart from everyone else.

    I think you are over generalizing. I do not see a connection between a higher expectation of living a prosperous lifestyle and religion in my own background/religious affiliation. I would say that the prosperity gospel, if that is what you are talking about, is a very specific kind of religion.
    Growing up in church myself, I would see hundreds go to the alter call for prayer and most of the time it was for health related issues, only to see them go back and order a bucket of fried chicken from KFC.

    I believe you, but in my own religious tradition there aren't any altar calls, and I've never seen KFC as a church-associated meal. We do have occasionally food-related events, but the food chosen is not any different than what I'd see at other food-related events in the same area/city/general social groups. So again it might be the region and cultural background dictating what religious people in those areas do after church vs. the religion itself.

    Okay makes sense. I guess I'm speaking from a subjective perspective. Glad to know that it's a possibility that there's not a correlation between the two. Maybe ethical? not sure. Prosperity gospel was taken out of context and it doesn't mean money in general terms of the context.

    Thanks
  • dougfer64
    dougfer64 Posts: 3 Member
    I fight myself with the word glutton or gluttony used quite frequently as I witnessed alcoholism with my father and brother and blamed them for being gluttons to the spirits as I am now to the food, I fight this as it says he will take from the gluttonous until there is no more to take as I watched my father and brother lose everything mentally, spiritually and materialistic as I am doing with the food
  • perkymommy
    perkymommy Posts: 1,640 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    It's not religion. It's just that religion happens to be part of the culture of obese people in those areas. Fat people get fat by overeating calories. They just like to eat a lot of calories in those areas while they comply with religion.

    This. There are overweight people who are not religious that also live in areas where there are a lot of religious folk. I don't think there is any correlation at all. Just as there are fat vegetarians there are also fat meat eaters. It's all relative.
  • mph323
    mph323 Posts: 3,566 Member
    edited August 2017
    Interesting topic. I'm not clear if there is a trend for religious people to be fatter or thinner but...

    I'm struggling to pull together coherent argument but bear with me... I wonder if there is an argument that the most religious are more likely to consider their health to be in the hands of a higher power and therefore something that they are relatively powerless to affect?

    In other words "The lord has made me weak and now sent me this diabetes as a cross to bear". Whereas someone who is agnostic or atheist is more likely to say - "I'm the master of my own destiny and my health is my choice".

    That is not to say that every theist or atheist would act in the way I've presented above but if a significant proportion did , that would have a net effect on the group?

    Like I said, I'm struggling to put it into words and I really don't mean any offence to theists - If it comes across that way it is my clumsy writing rather than intention.

    This is good insight. I would also point out there's the opposite side of the coin, where those who are sincerely religious and overweight see themselves as committing the sin of gluttony, and actively struggle to let go of the sin. There's also a strong vein in some religions along the lines of "God helps those who help themselves". What I'm thinking here is that there are so many different ways of fulfilling God's will among various religions that it's not really possible to just assign a single variable (religious vs not religious) and make any sort of valid conclusion. The same goes for the non-religious community. certainly many would feel that they alone have control over their destiny, but I think just as many feel that they're destined to be fat because of genes, or evolution or whatever.

    edited because spelling
  • VeronicaA76
    VeronicaA76 Posts: 1,116 Member
    Very little. Unless a religious specifically bans a lot of bad foods (Janism - no killing anything animal or plant, leaves okay because the plant will still be alive, potatoes not), then no. It's more a correlation to demographics. The deep South tends to have a higher obesity rate that the Pacific Northwest. But, if you look at the foods and lifestyle habits, that's where the difference is, regardless of religion.
  • ForecasterJason
    ForecasterJason Posts: 2,582 Member
    Anyone who has ever been to a church pot luck supper, church picnic, church barbecue or prayer breakfast knows there is definitely a correlation between religion and eating. (from a southern baptist preacher's daughter) :-)

    Other aspects of religion that can influence health are admonitions not to abuse substances, like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc., the social aspect which can stimulate mental health and well-being, faith in God which can create a sense of optimism and gratefulness which also creates a sense of mental well-being and possibly, a supernatural "energy" that is not yet understood by science that is experienced by the religious.

    I do know there have been several studies that have linked church attendance to living longer. But I found another study which breaks it down by denomination and found that the health effects of regular church attendance were actually only found in Evangelical Protestants, probably due to the fact that they tend to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes less than the general population. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035005/

    It's an interesting topic. Thanks for starting the discussion!
    I do agree that these explanations may be key factors in associating religion and health.