Researchers have found being religious may increase your chances of being overweight.
Researchers have found being religious may increase your chances of being overweight.

Forgive us our gluttony

MORE sermons about the sin of gluttony may be in order after Southern Cross University research found being religious may increase your chances of being overweight.

Baptist and Catholic men had a higher body mass index (BMI) on average compared with those reporting no religious affiliation, a new study published in the Journal of Religion and Health has found.

The study was conducted by Dr Michael Kortt from Southern Cross University Business School and Professor Brian Dollery of the University of New England.

Baptist men had, on average, a 1.3 higher BMI while for Catholics it was 0.5 higher compared with those reporting no religious affiliations.

Among women, "non-Christians" had a one unit lower BMI on average compared with those reporting no religious affiliation, while "other Christian" women reported an average one unit higher BMI.

"Among Australian women, we found no evidence of a relationship between religious attendance and BMI," Dr Kortt said.

"However, we did find evidence of a negative association between the importance of religion and BMI. "Perhaps this finding reflects that the importance women attach to religion may help to control excessive eating."

Reverend Graham Eggins from Ballina Baptist Church was at a loss to explain why people in his denomination tended to be more overweight, although they were "very hospitable" people.

He admitted he lost weight this year through exercise and dietary changes, "but that's got nothing to do with being a Baptist."

The study was based on an analysis of datafrom 9408 adults from the Household Income Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey.



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