recent review of existing research on factors related to longevity
reveals that people who attend religious services weekly actually live
longer. The study also reviewed work done on the impact of regular
exercise and proven therapeutic regimens on life expectancy.
The research, however, does not reveal the link between faith and health, suggesting the need for further research, said study leader Daniel Hall.
"Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy," Hall cautioned in an interview with LiveScience. He added that his study was not intended for use in clinical decision-making. Hall is an Episcopal priest and a resident in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Hall also told LiveScience that he speculated the community and social aspect of religion could play a role in the results. Perhaps, he said, being involved in a religion can increase one’s ability to cope with stress and make meaning out of life.
The findings are detailed in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.