According to a new U.S study, being religious can literally add years to your lifespan. A group of researchers at Ohio State University has found that religious people live up to four years longer than atheists.
The study focused on more than 1,000 obituaries across 42 states. Study authors adjusted the findings for factors that may influence the outcomes like marital status, sex, and education.
Lead author Laura Wallace explained that religious affiliation is as important as gender is when it comes to longevity.
The research team tried to asses the influence of faith on longevity by first looking at 500 obituaries in a local newspaper in Iowa. An obituary usually includes data that the Census Bureau omits like religious beliefs, social activities, and psychological traits of the deceased.
The first analysis revealed that religious people tend to live 9.45 more years than atheists. After study authors adjusted the findings for marriage and sex, two factors that can also influence longevity, the figure fell to 6.48 years on average.
Religious People Live Significantly Longer than Atheists
The second analysis involved over 1,000 obituaries in dozens of states. This time, researchers found that people who were religiously affiliated lived 3.82 more years than atheists, after sex and marital status were factored in.
Scientists believe that the recently found benefit of having religious faith is linked to religious people being more socially active in their communities and being less likely to smoke, abuse drugs and alcohol or leading a promiscuous life. Religious people also have prayer and gratitude as two very effective ways of relieving stress.
Past studies have also shown that volunteering can add years to your life, which may explain the uptick in longevity in religious people when compared to their non-religious peers.
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