Do churchgoers actually LIVE LONGER? New study has surprising result

by Michael Foust, Guest Reviewer |

CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) -- Could regular church attendance help you live a longer life? A growing body of scientific evidence seems to think so.

The latest study was posted this month on the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) website and showed that among women, frequent attendance at religious services "was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality."

In fact, the study even suggested that church attendance could be part of a doctor-prescribed health regiment. Unlike a similar earlier study, this one did not involve men.

"Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate," the study found.

The study used a self-reported questionnaire of 74,534 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study between 1996 and 2012. Specifically, the study found that attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with a 33 percent lower mortality rate compared with women who had never attended religious services.

It is not the first study to show a church attendance-health correlation. In 2004, a 12-year study was released showing that people over the age of 65 who attended church services at least once a week were 35 percent more likely to live longer, compared to those who never attended church. It also showed that regular church attenders were less likely to have cardiovascular or high blood pressure problems and more likely to have a stronger immune system.

"There's something involved in the act of religious attendance, whether it's the group interaction, the world view or just the exercise to get out of the house," Susan Lutgendorf, a psychology professor at the University of Iowa, told The Telegraph in 2004.