A new study finds that "young adults who regularly attend religious activities may be more prone to obesity by middle age than their nonreligious peers," according to the LA Times. The study of 2,433 people found that men and women aged 20-32 who were very religiously involved were 50% more likely to be fat at middle age, even controlling for other variables like race, age and income.
Researchers think it might have to do with the fact that the food served at religious functions is bad. From the LA Times:
"It's possible that getting together once a week and associating good works and happiness with eating unhealthy foods could lead to the development of habits that are associated with greater body weight and obesity," said lead author Matthew Feinstein of Northwestern Medicine, in a news release. "We don't know why frequent religious participation is associated with development of obesity, but the upshot is these findings highlight a group that could benefit from targeted efforts at obesity prevention."
On the bright side, if you're spending all that time doing religious stuff (AKA "chin-ups for the soul") you're probably going to be rewarded with rock-hard abs in the afterlife.
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