Lyon, Joseph L., Madanat, Hala N., Merrill, Ray M.
Active Religion and Health in Utah
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Religious activity is frequently associated with health and lifestyle behaviors, such as abstaining from tobacco use and alcohol abuse, which directly influence physical and mental health outcomes.1 In recent decades, the adult population in Utah has experienced the lowest overall cancer and heart disease incidence and mortality rates in the United States. Studies have shown that these favorable health outcomes are explained, at least in part, by the health doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Other studies have looked specifically at the influence of church activity on cancer and total mortality in LDS men and women. In each of these studies, religiously active Latter-day Saints experienced lower levels of cancer and longer life expectancy than did less active members. This suggests that health and lifestyle behaviors among less active Latter-day Saints, such as cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, differ considerably from those among active members. Other behavior differences may also be suggested, such as premarital and extramarital sexual relations, less education, or physical inactivity, which are behaviors associated with an increased risk of physical and mental health problems.6 On the other hand, regular LDS church attendance suggests acceptance of health and moral standards espoused by the church. [From the text]