Medicine

Can religious belief make you live longer?

Can religious belief make you live longer?

The afterlife isn't the only thing atheists are missing out on by not believing in God.

Study's lead author, Laura Wallace from The Ohio State University said in a statement that, "Religious affiliation had almost as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life".

"We found that volunteerism and involvement in social organizations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided", Wallace said.

A new study has found a link between religion and long life.

Previous studies have shown that people who volunteer or build social networks often live longer, and religious groups often provide those opportunities. But a potential strength was that, unlike other studies, religious affiliation was not self-reported, but was reported by the obituary writer.

A team of academics at Ohio State University in the USA has found the a mix of social supports, stress-relieving practices and abstaining from unhealthy habits lengthen the lives of religious people.




Way noted that the rules and norms of many religions restrict unhealthy practices such as alcohol and drug use, and promiscuity.

The effect may be especially pronounced in religiously cohesive communities.

Life expectancy was still 3.82 years longer in religious people when they statistically controlled for marriage rates, a factor which has been shown to increase life expectancy and help stave off disease.

Church-goers appear to live up to four years longer than atheists, at least according to an analysis of 1,000 obituaries published across the United States. High duration of life of believers is affected by a more active social life and volunteering, which helps to solve the problem of loneliness and a sedentary lifestyle in old age.

Furthermore, the relationship between religion and a person's lifespan might also depend on the average religiosity of the city in which they live. We just didn't know it could be longer too.

"There's still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can't explain", she said.


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