Friday, March 25, 2011

I think maybe they did a HAES study and didn't know it.

Article:  Are The Religious Prone to Obesity?

The study doesn't prove that attending services is fattening, nor does it explain why weight might be related to faith. Even so, the finding is surprising, especially considering that religious people tend to be in better health than others, said study author Matthew J. Feinstein, a medical student at Northwestern University in Chicago

So. Wait. Did they just say that people who attend to regular religious are services are prone to be healthier AND fatter?

After a statement saying that the religious could benefit from some "targeted anti-obesity obesity interventions" the article then says:

Scientists have been studying links between religious behavior and health for years, and have found signs that there's a positive connection between the two. The studies suggest that religious involvement -- whether it's private or public -- is linked to things like better physical health, less depression and more happiness, said Jeff Levin, director of Baylor University's Program on Religion and Population Health.

But researchers have also found signs that people who attend services put on more weight.

That BUT there is so telling.  We've got all these studies that show that religious people tend to be healthier...but...those same people are fat? HOW CAN THAT BE??  It's as if the fact that religious people are fat negates all that other stuff about them being healthy- those other studies must've missed something!  I love how no one even bothers to question the assumption that fat is always unhealthy - - they never even mention, "perhaps its time to society to rethink how it thinks about fat if a group that tends towards healthiness also tends towards fatness."  Oh - wait - they do- near the end. It's because we don't smoke.  
This I'm just quoting so you can laugh with me:

Levin said one possibility is that those who attend services, along with activities such as Bible study and prayer groups, could be "just sitting around passively instead of being outside engaging in physical activity."
Right. Because all the people not involved in those activities are busy being active - not sitting around at desk jobs or watching tv or playing on the computer.

And, this one:

Also, he said, "a lot of the eating traditions surrounding religion are not particularly healthy; for example, constant feasts or desserts after services or at holidays -- fried chicken, traditional kosher foods cooked in schmaltz (chicken fat), and so on."
The great thing about HAES is that if I want to feast at a social event or a holiday - I can - or I can choose not to. I don't have to eat a plate of fried chicken because that's the only time I ever allow oil to pass my lips - - I can have just one and be done. Or - I can eat more and not have that mean that I eat like that all the time - perhaps I'm just enjoying something tasty in community with other people over a shared life necessity that can be enjoyable.   (And also like to sarcastically point out the "services" and holidays feasts that non-religious people partake in.  Superbowl, anyone?)   Note to self: write post on the celebratory nature of food in the Bible.

The article concludes with an admonition to places of worship to promote health and increase awareness of obesity.  The authors of the article would probably like books like: Fit for His Service or Fit For The King. (I'm not linking - I think they are horrible and spiritually damaging - note to self: write post on those books too.)

The last sentence  of the article is one I can get behind:

"Pastors, especially those in poor neighborhoods, could champion programs for more fresh produce and less fast food in their neighborhoods," Sulmasy added.
Yup. I really do think that the lack of access to fresh and healthy food in socio-economic challenged areas is devastating to health. I believe that fresh food is a healthier alternative to fast food.  I don't think fresh food = skinny people. I don't think that preachers should preach the virtues of being skinny. I do think as a matter of social justice that nutritional information based on health and not size should be available to everyone and the church can and  should play a leading role in social justice issues.

1 comment:

  1. I had to giggle at their own contradictions. Very interesting!