Friday, March 25, 2011

Obesity in the Church

An article in the LA Times discusses a study conducted exploring aspects of American obesity. All the usual suspects are present—inactive lifestyle, watching TV, and eating too many fatty foods. And there is a new culprit in town—religion?

Yes, religion. Young adults who regularly attend religious activities may be more prone to obesity by middle aged than their peers an 18 year longitudinal study found. Those who are 20-32 years old are 50% more likely to be obese by the time they are middle aged than the nonreligious. Interestingly enough, other studies show that being religious correlates with lower mortality rates. Figure that one out!

What do we do with this? We start taking care of our bodies. Our bodies are the temple God, so doesn’t it makes sense to treat it well?

Skip the potluck, put down the casserole, go outside, and go for a run.


  1. But....I like the potluck. This is an interesting study and one I'd like to actually see the research for. I would guess that maybe folks who are highly active in their churches have two things going on. One is that they consider themselves spiritual above all else - things of this world (including the physical maintenance of their bodies) is secondary. The other is having frequent occasion to be around the kind of food one would expect to find at a church function. If you're Baptist, you might be involved in such functions up to three times per week! Needless to say, I've really slimmed down since becoming a Presbyterian.

    My other thought is on the studies indicating mortality rates being lower for those who identify as religious. I'm wondering if "being religious" could include any level of commitment to religion. If so, mortality rates might be skewed toward people who do not attend church as frequently, have a higher regard for the physical world, or don't participate in as many church functions where all the yummy potluck goodness is. Interesting topic!

  2. This is quite an interesting finding. I would also like to see more research in this area in order to confirm this finding. I do see how it is probable though. A main aspect of many churches is fellowship. This fellowship can often include food. What is better than eating a lot of food around people who all love Jesus? ;) Although it may be easy to make excuses, we must remember that we should glorify the Lord in both the immaterial and material aspects of ourselves. This may include cutting back on some of the food while we fellowship with one another.

  3. This is interesting and sadly enough true! America has a problem with being overweight, however, to America’s defense; the issue has been addressed of the recent years. It will take more than commercials on television to motive children and adults to become more active. Programs such as Play60 (NFL) that are geared toward helping children play 60 minutes per day promotes good health and a healthy future. That program is on a national level which sometimes may not reach the maximum amount that they should. That is why communities and churches should implement programs to promote good health. A relative of mine goes to a church here in Lynchburg. Because of the worldwide show “The Biggest Loser” her church has started a competition to see what teams can lose the most weight in five months. These types of ministries excite me because of the long term effect it can have on the person, as well as the community. The motive behind implementing this program was because the leaders of the church are aware that a fit and healthy church yields an effective church!


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