A recent study claims that kids who are more religious are more likely to get fat than non-religious kids:
“Our main finding was that people with a high frequency of religious participation in young adulthood were 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age than those with no religious participation in young adulthood,” says Matthew Feinstein, the study’s lead investigator and a fourth-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“And that is true even after we adjusted for variables like age, race, gender, education, income, and baseline body mass index,” he added…
“We didn’t look specifically at the potluck factor, but anecdotally, we know that oftentimes at these religious gatherings people will eat traditional comfort foods which are often high in fat and calories and salt,” says Feinstein. “But, again, that’s not something we looked at in this particular study.”…
Feinstein says while obesity appears to be an issue for religious people, previous studies have shown that the faithful tend to live longer, be less likely to smoke, and to have better mental health status."
That study flies in the face of various other independent studies that show that religious people tend to be more healthier than non religious people. I'll reference two for your reading pleasure.
The first study was conducted by Princeton University in 2009 which found that religious people around the world tend to be more healthier than non-religious people.
The second study was conducted by Gallup poll in which they did extensive research on the wellbeing of religious people in America. The study found that there are different factors that could account for the results of their findings:
As a result, I'm highly skeptical of the study that finds that religious kids are more fat than non-religious kids.There are a number of factors that could contribute to very religious Americans' healthier lifestyle choices. Some of these factors are likely overt products of religious doctrine itself, including rules related to smoking and substance abuse. Seventh-Day Adventists, for example, strictly adhere to vegetarian lifestyles free of alcohol and smoking, while orthodox Mormons and Muslims do not drink alcohol. In some Christian denominations, gluttony and sloth are considered two of the seven deadly sins, and many evangelical faiths frown on drinking and smoking. The Bible indicates that one's body is the "temple of God," which could in turn help explain the relationship between religious orthodoxy and exercise and certain types of food consumption.It is possible, of course, that the noted relationship between health and religiosity could go in the other direction -- that people who are healthier are the most likely to make the decision to be religious. This could be particularly relevant in terms of church attendance, one of the constituent components of Gallup's definition of religiousness. Healthier people may be more likely and able to attend religious services than those who are less healthy.It may also be possible that certain types of individuals are more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices and more likely to choose to be highly religious. The most parsimonious explanation, however, may be the most intuitive: Those who capitalize on the social and moral outcomes of religious norms and acts are more likely to lead lives filled with healthier choices.
Do you agree or disagree with the study?