Individuals who attend religious services regularly appear to outlive those who do not attend church. The researchers estimated that people who attended religious services more than once a week had an average additional life expectancy of 62.9 years at age 20, versus 55.3 years for those who did not attend church at all. People who attended church once a week and those who attended less than once a week, had intermediate life expectancies after age 20 of 61.9 and 59.7 years, respectively. When the investigators took into account demographic factors such as age, sex, race and region, religious attendance remained a significant predictor of mortality. The risk of dying during the follow-up period was 1.87 times higher people who never attended church and 1.31 times higher those who attended church less than once a week, in comparison with the most frequent churchgoers.
Demography May 1999;36:273-285.
COMMENT: More indirect evidence that spiritual health is intimately connected to physical health. Going to church just to achieve the benefits or fulfill some obligation will likely not work. Church attendance is probably correlated with an authentic spiritual commitment. I fully believe that spiritual health is essential to optimal wellness and would encourage prayer as a tool to grow in that direction. It is a simple, natural, very inexpensive strategy and is amazingly effective. Is works best if done on a consistent basis, but really will work any time it is used.