Researchers at the University of Houston explored the health benefits of attending religious services, especially for colored minority groups. The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The research team examined data collected from the National Health and National Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers tracked a group of black men for more than 17 years. They surveyed factors related to the black men’s health records and death indexes, church attendance, social support, nutrition and physical activity, etc.
The results revealed that attendance in religious service is linked to lower mortality rates for men and greater (physical and mental) health in faith-based communities. In fact, the life-affirming and life-extending rewards of belonging to a community of worship can result in lower mortality rates for black men in their 50s.
The authors elaborated: “The tradition of worship includes time and space where individuals can lay their burdens down. These longstanding practices can help people get through whatever is ailing them. They’re not a cure-all, but those long-held traditions provide positive energy needed to take on challenges and perhaps provide a new outlook on life.”
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Bruce, M. A., Beech, B. M., Kermah, D., Bailey, S., Phillips, N., Jones, H. P., Bowie, J. V., Heitman, E., Norris, K. C., Whitfield, K. E., & Thorpe, R. J. (2022). Religious service attendance and mortality among older Black men. PloS one, 17(9), e0273806. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0273806