In today’s fast-paced world, people are constantly searching for ways to live longer and healthier lives.
While many factors contribute to overall well-being, a surprising one that has emerged from numerous scientific studies is regular church attendance.
Who would have thought that attending worship services could add years to your life, especially considering the negative comments often heard about the church in the media?
Multiple studies have delved into the connection between church attendance and longevity. The results are both fascinating and controversial, sparking debate and curiosity among researchers and the public alike.
One of the earliest studies, conducted by Hummer et al. in 1996, followed 21,204 American adults over nine years. This study found that those who attended church every week lived an average of seven more years than non-attendees.
This effect was even more pronounced in the African-American community, with those attending church more than once a week enjoying a staggering fourteen-year increase in life expectancy.
Further research by Stampfer et al. in 2016 discovered that women who attended religious services more than once a week had a 33% lower chance of dying during a 16-year study period compared to their secular counterparts.
Another study by Bruce et al. in 2017 revealed that regular service attendance reduced stress responses and mortality rates, with attendees being 55% less likely to die during an 18-year follow-up period.
These studies suggest that attending church is associated with better health practices, increased social connections, and more stable marriages, all of which contribute to a longer life.
However, not all research is conclusive, as some studies have shown mixed results regarding the influence of prayer on disease outcomes.
While the exact mechanisms behind the church-longevity connection are complex, researchers like VanderWeele TJ argue that it’s a combination of religious values, social ties, and community norms that enhance human flourishing.
Furthermore, spirituality has been identified as a critical factor in the lives of older adults, providing support and a framework for understanding a long life.
Overall, the data suggests that regular church attendance can indeed lead to a longer life, particularly benefiting women.
So, if you’re looking to extend your time on Earth, attending church might be a surprising and beneficial choice.