Religion May Increase Longevity
The Blue Zones are five areas of the world where longevity rates are longer than the average human lifespan. Those areas are:
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
- Ikaria, Greece
- Loma Linda, California
In all Blue Zones regions, centenarians were part of a religious community.
Religious people have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to function better.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University studied the relationship between religiosity (measured by attendance at religious services), stress, and longevity. They looked at a sample of 5,449 Americans aged 40-65 and investigated whether the frequency of religious service attendance had an impact on the participants’ health for 14 years.
They found that religious-service-goers have a significantly lower risk of dying. After adjusting for age, sex, race and, chronic medical conditions, religious-service-goers were 46% less likely to die in the follow-up period compared to non-religious-service-goers. There was no statistically significant difference in mortality when measuring how frequently religious services were attend.
Non-religious-service-goers had significantly higher rates of blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol.
Religious-service-goers were more likely to have higher levels of educational attainment, lower levels of poverty, increased physical activity, reduced rates of smoking and drinking, and a healthier eating index than the American population at large.
Trilling, D. (n.d.). Religion may reduce stress and increase longevity. https://www.bluezones.com/2017/07/religion-may-reduce-stress-increase-longevity