Praying the Sickness Away Does Going to Church Make You Healthier?

Do you believe in God? That question, especially in this day and age, can kick of an extremely heated debate. Especially when you start talking about which God, or which religion you may (or may not) adhere to.

So, here’s another question . . . Do you believe that believing in God could make you healthier? True, another loaded question – but one that actually does have some merit, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), with the help of a very large Norwegian health study called HUNT, discovered a clear link between the amount of time spent in church and a lower blood pressure among both men and women.  In fact, the more often a HUNT participant visited church, the lower their blood pressure was.  To refute any potential outside explanations, the research team took great care to control for many other factors that could produce the same result.

Previous research that took place in the United States has suggested the possibility of a link between church and low blood pressure; but because America has such a broad range of religious beliefs, it was hard to show concrete evidence.  In Norway, however, over 90 percent of the population where the HUNT study was conducted belonged to the Norwegian state church.  This made the same study much more effective in producing strong, clear results.

Unfortunately, it was not so clear if the church goers attended because of a health condition, or if the health condition was a result of their going to church.  A new study is needed that will observe the same people over a longer period of time in order to rule out any potential medical conditions that would motivate someone to attend church more often.

Additionally, the study did not include other religions, such as Judaism and Islam, which makes it difficult to determine if the same healthful link can be made among individuals with other beliefs.

The HUNT database is actually comprised of three separate studies that began in 1984.  It contains information on over 120,000 Norwegian citizens, and provides family data that is used in the country’s national health registries.  Usually, the parameters covered in the studies have been poorly covered in European countries, while information from the United States typically includes lifestyle and health information.  The HUNT database is responsible for providing the data that led to the discovery of a correlation between humor, laughing, and good health, as well as being involved in different cultural activities and good health.

If you do believe in God and currently do not visit church quite as often as you would like, perhaps these results will motivate you to attend church more frequently.

And, if you don’t believe in God or religion, or never go to a house of worship, you might want to step up the cardio a bit to make up the difference.

I’m kidding. Kind of.

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