Religious Danes have lower mortality and fewer hospitalizations

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A new study examines the connection between faith and health, revealing that active participation in religious organizations is associated with health benefits.

Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt, Associate Professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark, and her colleagues conducted the study.

The findings show that women who are active in religious communities have lower mortality rates, while men experience fewer hospitalizations. The study, based on data from nearly 3,000 participants, has been published in the epidemiological journal “European Journal of Epidemiology.”

The researchers discovered approximately 30% lower mortality rates among those engaged in religious organizations, with an even more pronounced effect for women, who experienced a 44% lower mortality rate. The study also indicates that men who participated in religious organizations had one-third fewer hospitalizations compared to other men in the study.

Co- author Niels Christian Hvidt, professor at the Research Unit for General Practice at the University of Southern Denmark, highlights the significance of the study’s results, noting that religious participation seems to have positive health effects, even in a secular culture like that of Denmark.

While previous research has suggested links between religious activity and health, this study stands out because it relies on registry data rather than self-reported information. The researchers emphasize that further investigations are necessary to understand the exact mechanisms behind these health benefits and how religious participation affects physiological, psychological, and social processes.

The study’s findings suggest that active involvement in religious communities can have a positive impact on health and support prior research that has identified similar connections between faith and well-being.

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