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Women who regularly attend religious services 'live longer'

PRAISE: 33% of churchgoers were at lower relative risk of dying compared with similar women who did not attend religious services.

"GOING TO church could save your life," reports the Daily Mail, adding that, "Women who worship once a week are '25 per cent less likely to die early", according to study.

The study, carried out by researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in the US, showed that predominantly Christian nurses who attended religious services more than once a week had a 33% lower relative risk of dying over a 16-year period compared with similar women who did not attend religious services.

A sizeable chunk of the link was explained by social support (23%), smoking rates (23%) and, to a lesser extent, optimism differences (9%) between attenders and non-attenders.

Our results suggest that there may be something important about religious service attendance beyond solitary spirituality,” said Tyler VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School and senior author of the study. Going hand-and-hand with religious attendance comes an increase in social support, a sense of belonging to a community, and a decrease in depression, said VanderWeele.

The study concludes that “Religion and spirituality may be an under-appreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

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