HHS HealthBeat (January 02, 2009)
Spiritual living

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

One of the largest studies to look at how religion relates to health supports the benefits of spirituality.

Eliezer Schnall of Yeshiva University found it in eight years of data on 92,000 people in the Women’s Health Initiative database, supported by the National Institutes of Health.

[Eliezer Schnall speaks] “Those women who said they attended religious services at least once per week had about a 20 percent reduced risk of dying.’’

Schnall says the benefit held up even after researchers statistically factored out healthy things that religion might encourage, such as not smoking and not drinking too much, and after they factored out benefits that religious attendance might foster, such as social support and life satisfaction.

Whatever it is, he says, these women were doing something right.

The study is for the journal Psychology and Health.

Learn more at hhs.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.75288052