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Is there any correlation between religion and health?

13

Replies

  • SiegfriedXXL
    SiegfriedXXL Posts: 219 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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.
  • 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!

    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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.

    Wow! I've recently started a study about the Seventh Day Adventism, and it's interesting that they are the healthiest religious group, but also observe the dietary laws of the Torah. I do not know too much about them, but this has sparked my interest. It's as if they were presented the kings food (story of Daniel) and they refused the kings food (western diet) and stayed with the foods of the Torah. And it shows that they are the healthiest of all!

  • Kullerva
    Kullerva Posts: 1,114 Member
    edited August 2017
    Panentheist here. (The definition is squiggly; in my case it means that I lean hard toward atheism but am unwilling to discount the energy that animates all life in the universe as a powerful, if non-determinative and non-prescriptive, force.) Half my family is fundamentalist and half is godless. Both sides are fat and riddled with diabetes. If God (pick one) cares, it's not about weight. :)
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,324 Member
    The real difference is the AVAILABILITY of food/foods and the ability to afford it or not. I've been to very poor areas in my lifetime and seeing very poor areas (in the Philippines) food affordability obviously affects one's body weight. And all these people are 95% devout Catholics. If there is food there, is usually going to be forms of rice, bread and some vegetables with maybe some chicken. Trust when I tell you that you don't see a lot of dogs or cats roaming these areas.
    Move to an area where there is more food availability and people have money to afford it, then people's body's are much more normal BMI. And still the same religion devoutness.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • OliveGirl128
    OliveGirl128 Posts: 801 Member
    edited August 2017
    It's all about economics --- not religion.
    Unhealthy food is cheap, and healthy food is expensive. https://www.quora.com/Why-are-fat-people-the-poor-people-in-America-whereas-thin-people-are-seen-as-rich
    I bought an apple and it cost me $1.30. When I could have ordered from the value menu at mickey d's. And trust me, people rather have fast food than beans or other healthy cheap food.

    Prices vary greatly based on location though-I just bought a bag of Pink Lady apples yesterday for $3-the bag has 9 apples in it. And it's not even apple season here yet-starting next month I'll be able to get the same bag for $1-$1.50. My family eats very 'healthy' on a very small grocery budget. And yep, I eat a serving of beans every day, (I follow the DASH diet but have modified the plan to include beans every day, instead of just 3 times a week).

    edit: clarity
  • SiegfriedXXL
    SiegfriedXXL Posts: 219 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.

    Wow! I've recently started a study about the Seventh Day Adventism, and it's interesting that they are the healthiest religious group, but also observe the dietary laws of the Torah. I do not know too much about them, but this has sparked my interest. It's as if they were presented the kings food (story of Daniel) and they refused the kings food (western diet) and stayed with the foods of the Torah. And it shows that they are the healthiest of all!

    I'd guess the more health-related practices of the 7th Day Adventists aren't really about following Jewish dietary laws (I'm not sure how closely they really do that), but other dietary and health practices: eating diets that are close to vegetarian or vegetarian, avoiding alcohol, not smoking, etc. If you want to see the effect of Jewish dietary laws, I'd look to communities of Orthodox Jews.

    This also causes me to wonder how Mormons stack up, since they don't really have a particular diet, but have other practices that I would expect to be healthy overall.

    Yes, this is correct. They don't necessarily follow the laws of the Torah. They are vegetarians/vegans with no alcohol, smoking, or other "bad habits" in their lives. Their founders encouraged little to no meat consumption and it's become a standard.
  • midlomel1971
    midlomel1971 Posts: 1,282 Member
    As an atheist fat woman, I question your hypothesis. LOL

    I'm with you...I'm just going to sit in the corner and stuff my heathen face with Oreos.
  • yskaldir
    yskaldir Posts: 202 Member
    What about Utah?
  • 3bambi3
    3bambi3 Posts: 1,650 Member
    cheldadex wrote: »
    What about Utah?

    It's the Fight Club of the United States.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870 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!

    Do you mean "active in religious practice, regardless of religion", or do you mean flavour of religion?

    And how does one determine the causal effect? Is religious activity influenced by, or does it influence? How do socio-economic factors play in?

    The question is too general. I suspect those religious traditions that avoid alcohol would have lower instances of alcohol related illness, but may have higher incidence of other conditions. Equally prohibition traditions may have extremes, as a result of the approach.

  • EatingAndKnitting
    EatingAndKnitting Posts: 531 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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.

    Wow! I've recently started a study about the Seventh Day Adventism, and it's interesting that they are the healthiest religious group, but also observe the dietary laws of the Torah. I do not know too much about them, but this has sparked my interest. It's as if they were presented the kings food (story of Daniel) and they refused the kings food (western diet) and stayed with the foods of the Torah. And it shows that they are the healthiest of all!

    Former Seventh-day Adventist, now atheist, here. We do not follow the dietary laws of the Torah. We encourage our members to follow the health practices set forth in our "Health Message" as written by the women we believe to be our prophet. This is either an entirely plant-based diet (we typically call ourselves "vegans" but because we only restrict our diet, we do wear leather and use animal products, making us plant-based - an Adventist vegan is different from an Internet vegan, and we are hardly ever evangelical about our diet!), an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, pescetarian diet, or "clean meats" diet - using the verses in the New Testament as to what is referred to as clean meats. We do share the idea of clean meats with the Jews, but they have other laws and restrictions on their diets that we do not have.

    Hardly any member of the church, even the ones who do eat meat, eat pork (even now as an atheist, I can't get rid of my dietary prejudices and eat much pork - I eat sausage, bacon, and pepperoni and eat no seafood at all - even the "clean" seafood) or a lot of seafood.

    As a church the majority of members are slender and fit. We don't drink or do drugs, for the most part. A few people drink, but drugs are practically unknown in the church. We encourage physical fitness, and tend to live for very long times. There's a health study that is being undertaken by someone (maybe the church in Loma Linda, the medical school for the church, but I forget) to study the diet and lifestyles of our church, because we are the largest group of mostly vegetarians in the world (I think).

    We also invented breakfast cereal. You're welcome. ;)

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitny-braun/seventhday-adventist-church-gave-you-cereal_b_9527964.html
  • EatingAndKnitting
    EatingAndKnitting Posts: 531 Member
    edited October 2017
    jesslla wrote: »
    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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.

    Wow! I've recently started a study about the Seventh Day Adventism, and it's interesting that they are the healthiest religious group, but also observe the dietary laws of the Torah. I do not know too much about them, but this has sparked my interest. It's as if they were presented the kings food (story of Daniel) and they refused the kings food (western diet) and stayed with the foods of the Torah. And it shows that they are the healthiest of all!

    Former Seventh-day Adventist, now atheist, here. We do not follow the dietary laws of the Torah. We encourage our members to follow the health practices set forth in our "Health Message" as written by the women we believe to be our prophet. This is either an entirely plant-based diet (we typically call ourselves "vegans" but because we only restrict our diet, we do wear leather and use animal products, making us plant-based - an Adventist vegan is different from an Internet vegan, and we are hardly ever evangelical about our diet!), an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, pescetarian diet, or "clean meats" diet - using the verses in the New Testament as to what is referred to as clean meats. We do share the idea of clean meats with the Jews, but they have other laws and restrictions on their diets that we do not have.

    Hardly any member of the church, even the ones who do eat meat, eat pork (even now as an atheist, I can't get rid of my dietary prejudices and eat much pork - I eat sausage, bacon, and pepperoni and eat no seafood at all - even the "clean" seafood) or a lot of seafood.

    As a church the majority of members are slender and fit. We don't drink or do drugs, for the most part. A few people drink, but drugs are practically unknown in the church. We encourage physical fitness, and tend to live for very long times. There's a health study that is being undertaken by someone (maybe the church in Loma Linda, the medical school for the church, but I forget) to study the diet and lifestyles of our church, because we are the largest group of mostly vegetarians in the world (I think).

    We also invented breakfast cereal. You're welcome. ;)

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitny-braun/seventhday-adventist-church-gave-you-cereal_b_9527964.html

    Also the owners of McKee Foods, the makers of Little Debbie are Seventh-day Adventist. A lot of students at Southern Adventist University/Academy work in the factory. They sponsor (or did) a NASCAR car and the Little Debbie logos are covered on the Sabbath (Saturday) to reflect the SDA belief in their holy day.

    We have this "great" health message and we participate in making cheap, crappy, calorie-dense snack cakes that do not reflect our health message. (A lot of SDAs don't eat refined sugar as part of the health message, or pickles) It's a church joke, and I am poking fun at the church here. :D
  • EatingAndKnitting
    EatingAndKnitting Posts: 531 Member
    newmeadow wrote: »
    jesslla wrote: »
    jesslla wrote: »
    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.

    Agree with this. I've been closely associated with Loma Linda and Seventh Day Adventism myself, though I am not a member and their members are, by and large, atypically fit and healthy, long-lived, and the quality of their life into the latter years is amazing. At one church service, we just acknowledged a woman who is 102, walks unaided, with great hearing and eyesight, alert, and sharp as a whip. Granted, this is one example of the many religions but it's helping its adherents, for sure.

    Wow! I've recently started a study about the Seventh Day Adventism, and it's interesting that they are the healthiest religious group, but also observe the dietary laws of the Torah. I do not know too much about them, but this has sparked my interest. It's as if they were presented the kings food (story of Daniel) and they refused the kings food (western diet) and stayed with the foods of the Torah. And it shows that they are the healthiest of all!

    Former Seventh-day Adventist, now atheist, here. We do not follow the dietary laws of the Torah. We encourage our members to follow the health practices set forth in our "Health Message" as written by the women we believe to be our prophet. This is either an entirely plant-based diet (we typically call ourselves "vegans" but because we only restrict our diet, we do wear leather and use animal products, making us plant-based - an Adventist vegan is different from an Internet vegan, and we are hardly ever evangelical about our diet!), an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, pescetarian diet, or "clean meats" diet - using the verses in the New Testament as to what is referred to as clean meats. We do share the idea of clean meats with the Jews, but they have other laws and restrictions on their diets that we do not have.

    Hardly any member of the church, even the ones who do eat meat, eat pork (even now as an atheist, I can't get rid of my dietary prejudices and eat much pork - I eat sausage, bacon, and pepperoni and eat no seafood at all - even the "clean" seafood) or a lot of seafood.

    As a church the majority of members are slender and fit. We don't drink or do drugs, for the most part. A few people drink, but drugs are practically unknown in the church. We encourage physical fitness, and tend to live for very long times. There's a health study that is being undertaken by someone (maybe the church in Loma Linda, the medical school for the church, but I forget) to study the diet and lifestyles of our church, because we are the largest group of mostly vegetarians in the world (I think).

    We also invented breakfast cereal. You're welcome. ;)

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitny-braun/seventhday-adventist-church-gave-you-cereal_b_9527964.html

    Also the owners of McKee Foods, the makers of Little Debbie are Seventh-day Adventist. A lot of students at Southern Adventist University/Academy work in the factory. They sponsor (or did) a NASCAR car and the Little Debbie logos are covered on the Sabbath (Saturday) to reflect the SDA belief in their holy day.

    We have this "great" health message and we participate in making cheap, crappy, calorie-dense snack cakes that do not reflect our health message. (A lot of SDAs don't eat refined sugar as part of the health message, or pickles) It's a church joke, and I am poking fun at the church here. :D

    I'm not SDA but I've watched Pastor Doug Batchelor's sermons and I think he's one of the most gifted Christian public speakers I've ever heard. His congregation appears to be in glowing good health when the camera cuts to the audience, especially the young people. Doug himself appears to be a tad gaunt but he can do handstands and modified back flips which isn't too shabby because I think he's close to 60 years of age. He showed these feats off in his broadcasts. He's way fit.

    I went to a few SDA church services in my area out of curiosity. I didn't continue attending as the ministers and Pastors locally don't hold a candle to Doug Batchelor's skill in preaching. But, once again, I noticed the general congregation, including the elders, were for the most part not overweight and appeared to be in very good health.

    The potlucks afterwards were as yummy as vegan foods can get. Salads and vegetable dishes were brought along with lots of starchy, fatty foods and wonderful desserts (with sugar). Excellent chow.

    He's an amazing speaker, you're right. I have a lot of respect for my church (I'm still culturally an SDA, even though I no longer believe in God, so I still consider it "my" church) and it's leaders, in most issues. They try to stay close to the Bible and absolutely believe in separation of church and state. A lot of people hear we worship on Saturday and try to say we're a cult, but I assure you we are not a cult. We're just a little strange and fringe, compared to the mainstream Christian religions. (And I'm in no way trying to convert anyone or break any TOS rules here)

    I do agree with our health message (for the most part). The vegan meats selection is amazing at our health food stores. MorningStar Farms used to be owned by the church, until we sold it off to whoever owns it now. If you have an SDA health food store nearby and are vegetarian/vegan, the fake meats they sell are AMAZING. I particularly like Worthington Dinner Roast and the vegan hot dogs. Even if you're a meat eater the substitutes are tasty (for the most part, some are just meh)

    Potlucks are my favorite thing about the church services. The food is always good. We have a dish, called "haystacks" that is sorta unique and my favorite meal ever. It's vegetarian taco salad, and can be very high calorie.

    Fritos, crumbled. Pinto beans, sliced black olives, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, celery, onions, tomatoes. Cheese is optional. Top with salsa or salad dressing (I like salsa and ranch, or just italian without salsa). Best served in a big mixing bowl. ;)
  • Lisa8823168
    Lisa8823168 Posts: 139 Member
    I don't think it could be realistically studied or confirmed any place in the world. Assuming everyone claiming to be a certain faith is actually practicing the principals of the faith (honesty), would kill the data integrity right away.

    An entire town of people may claim a certain belief system but actually doing more than visiting the chapel on Sunday in their Sunday best. Thinking everyone who spends a couple hours saying amen in church don't go home and sin (and eating or drinking contrary to that faiths practices would be a sin) in the privacy of your home would be naïve. Some social pressures make people put on a public face that is contrary to their actual practices. To be blunt, there are to many hypocrites to be able to effetely study the concept.

    However, a study based on economics and obesity in a certain region has merit, only because you can get hard data from government and health agencies on these items.

    Food in many parts of the world has always been a social event affiliating it with happiness and enjoyment no matter what the economics. Regardless of the faith of any geographic area...families and communities celebrate with food. This generates a happy feeling toward food which we learn even as kids with out birthday cakes. We go looking for comfort and that great feeling we had when we were happy. in One could argue that economically repressed areas have a higher rate of obesity because more people are seeking ways to feel happy...perceived to come with higher incomes. However, I know plenty of people in healthy income brackets who are not happy and also eat to seek some form of happy feeling.

    Maybe the real question should be...Is the practice of celebrating with food the root cause of the unhealthiest states, cities, countries?

  • Ainadan
    Ainadan Posts: 158 Member
    There are two things that you would have to consider. First, does following a religious diet affect health in and of itself? Secondly, diet aside, does their concept of God affect their ability to have self control and/or agency of their health and weight?

    That being said, I think if we were to answer the question, we would have to break it up into different religions. Muslims, Jews, and some denominations of Christians all follow their own dietary guidelines. Additionally, they have different concepts of God and our relationship to him.

    There have been studies that looked at these dietary guidelines and their health consequences, but I don't know what their findings were off the top of my head. Also, I haven't read any studies about how religion affects one's personal agency, but there are probably studies out there.

    If you put those two studies together, then you could develop a proper hypothesis about whether or not religion would affect your weight. Unfortunately, carrying out the research would be harder, due to lack of appropriate data, and too many correlated variables.
  • fbchick51
    fbchick51 Posts: 240 Member
    erickirb wrote: »
    I have two thoughts, Maybe look at the correlation of wealth vs. health.

    There's a MUCH, MUCH stronger correlation to wealth versus health.

    Top 10 fattest states Top 10 poorest states

    1 Mississippi Mississippi
    2 Louisiana Arkansas
    3 Arkansas West Virginia
    4 Kentucky Alabama
    5 Tennessee Kentucky
    6 West Virginia New Mexico
    7 South Carolina Louisiana
    8 Alabama South Carolina
    9 Texas Tennessee
    10 Oklahoma North Carolina

    The top 8 fattest states also happen to be in the top 10 poorest states. While Oklahoma isn't in the top ten poorest, it comes in at number 12. Texas is the outlier, but one can argue it's largerly propped up by big oil and has two large cities to offset the mostly rural poor communities surrounding it.

    While one can still argue that these states also fall in the bible belt, the major outlier is Utah. Utah ranks #2 as the most religious state and Mormons are FAR more restrictive (and live by it) then most those bible thumpers I've met down here in the south. Yet they are considered the "skinniest" state out of all 50 states, plus D.C. They happen to rank 13th in wealth and, like Colorado, the local governments invest in healthy living incentives.
    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) :-)

    Ehhh.. Potlucks are far from limited to just religious efforts. Potlucks are social functions in general and happen all over the 50 states. In fact.. when I lived in Hawaii, I attended far more non-religious potlucks full of unhealthy treats then I have religious and non-religious potlucks since living in Kentucky (And that number is extremely high). Yet Hawaii falls in the top 10 healthiest states.

    The economics argument takes the onus off of the overweight entirely. This is a false dichotomy, as it can he both. Just because the cheeseburger costs the same as the fruit or whatever, doesn't mean that the cost is entirely to blame. There is still a choice to be made.

    The economics argument doesn't take the onus off entirely, but it does do a great job of explaining the correlations we see and can actually help us understand how to make a difference. Because we know for a fact, blaming the individual hasn't helped AT ALL. I'd also argue that the issue is less about how cheap a Fastfood meal is versus healthier options. Most of the states that top the list are also extremely rural in nature. Fast food is just as rare and as far as the grocery store is and surprisingly, the produce is usually cheaper, as it's supplied by local producers rather then having to be shipped in from far away.

    Why does looking at the economics correlation help? First, it's not surprising to state that most of the fattest states also have some of the worst education systems in the nation. It's difficult to hold someone responsible, if they lack the education to make a good food choice. Add the fact that the whole "No child left behind" program doesn't test for health knowledge so most of these poor performing districts have abandoned health education almost completely. Rather then learning healthier habits, they simple continuing eating the same way they did when lifestyles in this area were far more active (More active family farms).



  • Lavelle1980
    Lavelle1980 Posts: 374 Member
    fbchick51 wrote: »
    erickirb wrote: »
    I have two thoughts, Maybe look at the correlation of wealth vs. health.

    There's a MUCH, MUCH stronger correlation to wealth versus health.

    Top 10 fattest states Top 10 poorest states

    1 Mississippi Mississippi
    2 Louisiana Arkansas
    3 Arkansas West Virginia
    4 Kentucky Alabama
    5 Tennessee Kentucky
    6 West Virginia New Mexico
    7 South Carolina Louisiana
    8 Alabama South Carolina
    9 Texas Tennessee
    10 Oklahoma North Carolina

    The top 8 fattest states also happen to be in the top 10 poorest states. While Oklahoma isn't in the top ten poorest, it comes in at number 12. Texas is the outlier, but one can argue it's largerly propped up by big oil and has two large cities to offset the mostly rural poor communities surrounding it.

    While one can still argue that these states also fall in the bible belt, the major outlier is Utah. Utah ranks #2 as the most religious state and Mormons are FAR more restrictive (and live by it) then most those bible thumpers I've met down here in the south. Yet they are considered the "skinniest" state out of all 50 states, plus D.C. They happen to rank 13th in wealth and, like Colorado, the local governments invest in healthy living incentives.
    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) :-)

    Ehhh.. Potlucks are far from limited to just religious efforts. Potlucks are social functions in general and happen all over the 50 states. In fact.. when I lived in Hawaii, I attended far more non-religious potlucks full of unhealthy treats then I have religious and non-religious potlucks since living in Kentucky (And that number is extremely high). Yet Hawaii falls in the top 10 healthiest states.

    The economics argument takes the onus off of the overweight entirely. This is a false dichotomy, as it can he both. Just because the cheeseburger costs the same as the fruit or whatever, doesn't mean that the cost is entirely to blame. There is still a choice to be made.

    The economics argument doesn't take the onus off entirely, but it does do a great job of explaining the correlations we see and can actually help us understand how to make a difference. Because we know for a fact, blaming the individual hasn't helped AT ALL. I'd also argue that the issue is less about how cheap a Fastfood meal is versus healthier options. Most of the states that top the list are also extremely rural in nature. Fast food is just as rare and as far as the grocery store is and surprisingly, the produce is usually cheaper, as it's supplied by local producers rather then having to be shipped in from far away.

    Why does looking at the economics correlation help? First, it's not surprising to state that most of the fattest states also have some of the worst education systems in the nation. It's difficult to hold someone responsible, if they lack the education to make a good food choice. Add the fact that the whole "No child left behind" program doesn't test for health knowledge so most of these poor performing districts have abandoned health education almost completely. Rather then learning healthier habits, they simple continuing eating the same way they did when lifestyles in this area were far more active (More active family farms).



    These (most) are also considered the Bible Belt, which is also the most religious states (southern region) So the bible belt is not only the unhealthiest, but also is the poorest, lack of education, and has the highest crime rate.

    Globally: the best countries to live in such as New Zealand or Austrlia are considered the LEAST Religious but has the lowest crime rate, greater wealth and greater health.
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,202 Member
    Kinda anecdotal but where I work the only religious people (there are two of us and I barely fit the category) are the ones who are in the best shape and regularly go to the gym. Everybody else in my office is an atheist (SF, it's all the rage, lol) and is fat and out of shape.

    You keep mentioning the South and the "Bible Belt"... you do know there is a specific food culture there and regardless of what religion you practice - if you even practice a religion, you tend to eat the food of the region. Well, that food is generally very calorie dense. I've lived there before and even though I was a transplant, I learned to eat and love their cuisine. ;)