Weighty Church Attendance

By David Briggs:

The nation’s churches and synagogues have a weight problem.

The multiple health benefits of an active faith life tend to stop at four-course Shabbat meals and church supper tables groaning with fried meat, biscuits and gravy, new research shows.

In one study of some 5,500 women and men ages 45 to 84, participants were more likely to be obese the more religiously active they were. Each step of the way, from those never attending worship to those attending weekly, greater religious activity was associated with significantly higher rates of obesity.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Fred

    I won’t mind being obese when I’m 84.

  • http://www.fivedills.com FiveDills

    Yet another idol within the American church… the stomach. For which I myself am guilty of bowing to.

  • http://aluminumsoil.com Matt

    Love those pot lucks!

  • http://jfigearo.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/great-health-nutrition-fitness-resources/ Jeff

    For those that are looking to get healthier / lose some weight, check-out Mercola.com – great site, full of tons of free REAL health/nutrition/fitness info!

    PS. subscribe to his free weekly email. a couple times a week you’ll get an email with a couple of health articles – if one of them looks interesting, click and read :)

  • Dennis Powell

    We have to eat …. They made everything else a sin!

  • DRL

    Time to crack open Scot’s book on fasting!

  • Dana Ames

    Ok, and…

    A person doesn’t become obese simply by eating at church pot lucks. It’s more complicated than that, and unless the obesity is the result of a metabolic problem there’s usually some kind of underlying pain, not to mention unresolved anger directed at oneself.

    Sometimes church life can contribute to the pain and anger, for sure… But a person can eat at a pot luck without overeating.

    I think this statistic is more related to the lack of help available through (many? most?) churches for dealing with the emotional issues that drive people to numb out with food. I’m speaking from my own history.

    Dana

  • Andy W.

    So glad I skipped church this morning to go on a nice long bike ride!!

  • http://eatingasapathtoyoga.wordpress.com Eating as a Path to Yoga

    When we focus on losing weight… that is an outcome, not a behavior change. If we focus on eating when we are hungry, and stopping when we are satisfied (our God-given signals) & moving joyfully… lifestyle changes can occur.

    America’s focus on weight loss has gotten our country nowhere fast.

    I echo Dana’s comments about getting to the root of why Americans overeat… so many people try to numb out to get away from exiled feelings that are not seen as acceptable in our Christian circles. (anger, sadness, depression, anxiety)

  • Dustin Kunz

    Why shouldn’t this be true? I’m who Christ says I am, and not what the scale says.

  • http://www.deinde.org Danny Zacharias

    Dennis, my wife and I had a good laugh over your comment :-)

  • http://www.spirithome.com/heal2.html Bob Longman

    I’m frankly more disturbed by our ‘wait’ problem than our weight problem. (But then, I’m known for getting into such heavy stuff.)

  • Roger

    Let’s all say it together, “correlation does not imply causality.”

    How about another scenario:

    1.) We have some arbitrarily socially defined standards of what is and is not acceptable with respect to weight and look.

    2.) Those who do not fit these standards are judged by our society as being less desirable and worthy of scorn.

    3.) They find comfort and acceptance in a community called the “church.”

    And…

    4.) This is all somehow the church’s fault? The church is guilty because it does not judge and ostracize people who are overweight?


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