Religious Affiliation and Obesity

New research from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has linked obesity during middle age with religious affiliation. In fact, those who regularly attend religious functions are twice as likely to become obese than those with no religious affiliation.

Researchers recognized there are numerous possible theories for the association between religious involvement and excess weight. Yet, Matthew Feinstein, the study’s lead investigator and a fourth-year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine partly attributed the findings to something very simple: religious gatherings often center around food, and that food tends to be high calorie comfort food.

Obesity can put people at risk for developing a number of diseases.  Cardiovascular risk tops that list, and diabetes is not far behind.  Individuals with a BMI of 28 or higher are 3 times more likely to develop diabetes.  Rounding out the list is cancer.  Elevated hormones linked with obesity can influence the growth cancer cells. So aim for a BMI in the range of 18.5–24.9 to maintain good health.

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