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Is there any correlation between religion and health?

Lavelle1980
Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
Why are the unhealthiest states, cities, countries are the most religious? Example: The bible belt (states) etc.. The healthiest countries are the least religious. What's the correlation between the two? Your thoughts. Simple dialogue!
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Replies

  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    This paper, which I found too long to bother reading, seems to explore the subject.

    http://ish-tmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Miller-Spiritualtiy-health-overview-AmPsy-2003.pdf
  • cs2thecox
    cs2thecox Posts: 533 Member
    I'm not sure about health, but the data seems to support faith leading to happiness.

    Random selection of two articles. No, I haven't woo checked them!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/02/office-for-national-statistics-well-being-data_n_9138076.html
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/more-mortal/201212/are-religious-people-happier-non-religious-people

    Maybe it's the start of a virtuous cycle of general happiness/life satisfaction leading to a greater propensity to take care of yourself, leading to better health, but that seems a bit tenuous to me.

    There are also other angles where religious or cultural views venerate the, um, larger form as an indicator of wealth, fertility and so on.
  • OliveGirl128
    OliveGirl128 Posts: 801 Member
    Why are the unhealthiest states, cities, countries are the most religious? Example: The bible belt (states) etc.. The healthiest countries are the least religious. What's the correlation between the two? Your thoughts. Simple dialogue!

    Off the top of my head I know of one Blue Zone group that's deeply religious and their way of eating is directly tied to their religious convictions, (the Seventh Day Adventist community in Loma Linda CA). As a group they experience exceptionally long life and good health, making them one of only 5 groups in the world who achieve this. It would be interesting to see if there was a similar religious adherance with the other 4 groups.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    Why are the unhealthiest states, cities, countries are the most religious? Example: The bible belt (states) etc.. The healthiest countries are the least religious. What's the correlation between the two? Your thoughts. Simple dialogue!

    I think there is a lot more to compare than religion when it come to the health of an area. Also have you compare different religious groups for health?
    I'd say that things like availability of health care, clean water, availibility of food, walk or bikeability or outdoor recreation of the area, age of population, income level, education level, drug or alcohol issues, customary diet of the area, work hours.
  • lorriemb
    lorriemb Posts: 39 Member
    edited August 2017
    Which religious belief? Just Christianity or ?

    Seems to be too many different factors to say that "religious" = unhealthy.

    Local economy, cultural influences, ease of food availability, religious practices where dietary restrictions, etc. are in place, and other "stuff" but I'm done thinking so hard about it. :p
  • Lavelle1980
    Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
    lorriemb wrote: »
    Which religious belief? Just Christianity or ?

    Seems to be too many different factors to say that "religious" = unhealthy.

    Local economy, cultural influences, ease of food availability, religious practices where dietary restrictions, etc. are in place, and other "stuff" but I'm done thinking so hard about it. :p

    The primary religion I would assume would be Christianity, since it's the main religion in the so called "Bible Belt" .
  • Lavelle1980
    Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
    I usually only lurk, but since I'm into religious studies that deal with things like this (the things people don't often think about) and since I was raised in a very strict fundamentalist atmosphere, I felt like chiming in.

    I think that economics is definitely a huge factor. Especially if we're considering the bible belt specifically.

    It would be interesting to compare the health/weight of religious people (in this case, probably specifically Christians) residing in one of the least religious states to those residing in one of the most to see if it's more or less a factor of regional culture, economics, etc. or if there's something to do with the specific religious mindset (e.g. a fundamentalist church's attendees in California vs. a fundamentalist church's attendees in Alabama).

    Since I know of no study off the top of my hand, if it were to turn out there's a correlation, I think it's many different factors attributing to the overall problem. From my own personal experience (growing up in the bible belt, in a very strict religious home/church, and having dealt with obesity along with many others I knew), a few possibilities:

    1. Gluttony just isn't that big of a deal. When you are trying to avoid all of the other vices that will supposedly send you straight to hell, food is just safe.
    2. Speaking of safe, if you are part of a social church that is also morally strict, food is the safe go-to for activities. Pot lucks, pitch-ins, picnics, bake-sells, going out to restaurants as a large group after a service, only hanging out with friends and family in eating places because you can't really go to other places (like bars, etc.)
    3. Food is an easy coping mechanism for a LOT of people, regardless of religious beliefs. There are a lot of studies about strict religion and depression. If one is from a strict religion and can't turn to alcohol, sex, etc. to deal with their depression, and they can't seem to "pray it away" or get healed, then food is an easy go to. I know it was for me.

    So, when you add all of the factors together - socioeconomics, culture (e.g. strict morality, internalized fears, etc.) and regional factors (e.g. heavily landlocked) - I think it just makes it a lot easier for ill health (in more areas than one). In fact, looking back at my own upbringing, the thinnest people in my church were typically the ones that weren't as strict in their morality (as far as I could tell anyhow) and/or were the ones who cared most about appearances (think the pretty pastor family sort) and were often a little wealthier to help sustain that.

    Wow, you make a very valid point. Bottom line: gluttony is just not a fear in church!



  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    lorriemb wrote: »
    Which religious belief? Just Christianity or ?

    Seems to be too many different factors to say that "religious" = unhealthy.

    Local economy, cultural influences, ease of food availability, religious practices where dietary restrictions, etc. are in place, and other "stuff" but I'm done thinking so hard about it. :p

    The primary religion I would assume would be Christianity, since it's the main religion in the so called "Bible Belt" .

    I don't think you can make an argument about religion and weight when it's that specific to a particular religion and region.

    There are many other things distinctive about areas that have higher levels of obesity.

    I also don't think you can generalize about "Christianity" based on specific regions or types of Christianity.