Saturday, April 22, 2006
Study Suggests Weekly Worship May Add 2-3 Years to Life: Could weekly religious attendance extend your life as much as regular exercise? The Washington Post reports that's one way to view new research by University of Pittsburgh physician Daniel Hall, who also happens to be an Episcopal priest. The study compares numbers from life expectancy tables and mortality studies to suggest that weekly worship may add 2-3 years to life, versus 3-5 years for regular exercise and 2.5-3.5 years for cholesterol-lowering drugs. Hall even compares the costs/benefits of tithing, gym membership and cholesterol medications. The study is not without its critics. Tom Denberg of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center said the study does not account for other behaviors - such as religious people being less likely to be smokers - that may explain churchgoers' relative longevity. Denberg went on to label the study "part of a larger, troubling movement in American society to enhance the scientific credibility of [religious] concepts."