Attending religious services may benefit health

Regularly attending religious services appears to provide a boost to mental and physical health, according to Tyler VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a column published October 28, 2016, in USA Today, he described his recent research finding: Women who attended religious services more than once a week had a 33 percent lower risk of dying during the study period, and a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer, compared with those who never attended religious services.

VanderWeele wrote that the science behind this research doesn’t endorse one faith over another, but that attending services does appear to have more benefit than private spiritual practice.

“Something about the communal religious experience and participation matters,” he wrote. “Something powerful appears to take place [at church], and enhances health.”

Read USA Today article: Religion may be a miracle drug: Column

Learn more

Frequent religious service attendance linked with decreased mortality risk among women (Harvard Chan School News)

Q&A: Church and the State of Health (Harvard Public Health)