As the faithful across America give thanks for the deeper realities underlying their belief this Christmas, they can also find encouragement in something else: their health. Gallup's Well-Being Index released findings yesterday showing that religious Americans are healthier than their non-religious neighbors.
Here's Gallup's summary statement:
The most religious Americans score a 66.3 on the Gallup-Healthways Healthy Behavior Index compared with 60.6 among those who are moderately religious and 58.3 for the nonreligious. This relationship, based on an analysis of more than 550,000 interviews, is statistically significant after controlling for major demographic and regional variables.
The report goes on to say:
Very religious Americans make healthier choices than their moderately religious and nonreligious counterparts across all four of the Healthy Behavior Index metrics, including smoking, healthy eating, and regular exercise. Smoking is one area of particular differentiation between the very religious and less religious Americans, with the nonreligious 85% more likely to be smokers than those who are very religious.