LDS Life Tables : A Comparison of Long-Lived Populations
Brigham Young University
This research estimates the life expectancy of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Utah. We create gender-specific life tables for four groups: total Utah, active LDS, less-active LDS, and non-LDS. Male life tables are based on data from 1991-1995; female life tables are based on data from 1994-1998. Life expectancy at birth is 75 years for all Utah males, 79.8 years for active LDS Utah males, 71.6 years for less-active LDS Utah males, and 71.5 years for non-LDS Utah males. Female life expectancy at birth is 80.4 years for all Utah females, 83.9 years for active LDS Utah females, 77.7 years for less-active LDS Utah females, and 77.4 years for non-LDS Utah females.
The active LDS male group has statistically significant 7.7 year gain in life expectancy at birth compared to the average US male in 1991-1995 (p-value < 0.0001). A two-sided t-test indicates that at birth, Japanese males and active LDS males are significantly different (p-value = 0.01); active LDS males are estimated to live 3.5 years longer than Japanese males. Active LDS males have significantly (p-value = 0.002) higher life expectancy at birth compared to Swedish males: active LDS males are estimated to live 4.25 years longer than Swedish males.
The active LDS females in 1994-1998 show a statistically significant five year gain in life expectancy at birth over an average US female in 1991-1995 (p-value = 0.0002). Although we estimate that at birth active LDS females live 1.3 years longer than Japanese females, this gain in life expectancy at birth is not statistically significant (p-value = 0.29). A two-sided t-test indicates that active LDS females have a higher life expectancy at birth than Swedish females (p-value = 0.02). Active LDS females live three years longer than Swedish females.
Results from this research can be useful to health policy makes and in the allocation of health resources. if it is indeed true that a large portion of the life expectancy gains in the active LDS group is attributable to adherence to a health code, then this information can be used when designing and evaluating health intervention programs.