Avoiding other vices may make Baptists fatter

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.abpnews.com/1396.article

    Avoiding other vices may make Baptists fatter, researcher suggests
    By Hannah Elliott

    Published: September 27, 2006

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (ABP) -- Of all believers, Baptists are the most likely to be obese, according to a new study from Purdue University.

    But then, obese people tend to live in states heavily populated by religious people -- particularly Baptists.

    So why are Baptists fatter?

    Ken Ferraro, the Purdue professor of sociology who led the eight-year study, said the trend could have resulted from a “strong emphasis for Baptists to avoid alcohol and tobacco and, as a result, indulge in overeating instead.”

    While many conservative denominations abstain from dancing, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, they have no guidelines when it comes to overindulging in food.

    Apparently, that attitude has taken its toll. Obesity cases increased from 24 percent in 1986 to 30 percent in 1994 among two Baptist groups -- the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention and the North American Baptists Conference, a group of roughly 400 churches in the U.S. Midwest and Canada.

    “This cause could be from less-healthy eating patterns in the South, home to many Baptists,” Ferraro said. “But we controlled for residency, and still Baptist women were more likely to be obese. More research is needed to learn how denominations view overeating and obesity.”

    Ferraro’s research of 2,500 adults also found that not all religious activities correlated with obesity. To be sure, women who watched or listened to religious television and radio were more likely to be obese. However, women who actually attended religious services were less likely to be obese. And men who gained comfort from religious sources -- instead of from food -- were less likely to be obese as well.

    After the Baptists, fundamentalist Protestant congregations -- Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Assembly of God, and Church of God -- had the second-highest rate of obesity, at 22 percent.

    In contrast, Catholic obesity rates remained steady at 17 percent during the research period, and Jewish obesity remained at 1 percent. Non-Christian faiths, including Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, increased in the number of obesity cases from 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent.

    Doctors consider a person obese when he or she has a body-mass index of more than 30. Body-mass index is the ratio between body weight and height -- weight divided by metric height squared. Studies consistently show that 30 percent of adults nationwide are obese. An additional 34 percent are overweight, with a body mass index of 25 to 30.

    More than just a hindrance to energy levels, confidence and quality of life, obesity is expensive and socially isolating, researchers say. It can cause chronic illnesses like adult-onset diabetes and heart disease, as well as asthma, sleep apnea, liver disease, depression and reproductive problems.

    Richard Kreider, director of the Baylor University Center for Exercise, Nutrition and Preventative Health Research, said the study made some good points, especially when it comes to Baptist life.

    “There are certainly cultural issues, regionality issues, and socialization issues about what people do when they get together,” he told Associated Baptist Press. “What attracts people to meetings is food. Churches use that to get people to come to things. They’ll have after-service dinners and Sunday night ice cream -- you name it.”

    Those between-service donuts and heavy potluck casseroles take their toll. When food becomes the object of an event -- or the event becomes an excuse for food -- unhealthy weight gain can creep up on parishioners.

    Part of the problem, Kreider said, is that food has become ingrained in the culture of some churches. Many people assume sports and exercise are okay for kids but not needed for adults, he said. Others just accept being overweight as okay.

    It’s not. According to Kreider, an inactive non-smoker is as unhealthy as someone who smokes, which is often frowned upon in Baptist circles.

    “I think we need to be cognizant of what we tell people,” he said. “We tell people not to drink and not to smoke and that they should take care of the temple [body], but we don’t work out. Many leaders inside the pulpit are way overweight. We don’t think about the way if affects our health and the message it sends to our kids.”

    The key to fixing that, Kreider said, is to develop a different mentality.

    Ferraro echoed that sentiment.

    “These high-fat meals are saying implicitly, ‘This is how we celebrate,’” Ferraro said. “Instead, religious leaders need to model and encourage physical health as an important part of a person's spiritual well being.”

    Religion does in fact promote health in many ways. Prayer, meditation and social interaction all promote good health, and many churches have blood-pressure stations, exercise clubs and health fairs.

    Another great way to stave off obesity is to disguise exercise into something fun, Kreider said, like softball leagues, church fitness centers and physical group activities. Churches should also be deliberate about providing wholesome food at events and speaking clearly and often from the pulpit about maintaining a healthy weight.

    The most important thing, experts stress, is to take steps, no matter how small, in the right direction. Otherwise, taxpayers will pay the price.

    “America is becoming known as a nation of gluttony and obesity, and churches are a feeding ground for this problem,” Ferraro said in the report. “If religious leaders and organizations neglect this issue, they will contribute to an epidemic that will cost the health-care system millions of dollars and reduce the quality of life for many parishioners.”

    Ferraro’s findings were published in the June issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
     
  2. NateT

    NateT
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    Isn't "overindulgence" an isssue regardless of what we're overindulging in?

    That's sad, but I don't think it's any news to baptists (or anyone else.) My dad told me my grandpa used to tell about the baptist pastors that would come home with them after the services back in the 20's and 30's, when my grandpa was a kid. He said the pastor ate so much that sometimes he didn't get much food. I guess it's been a problem for some time.

    I propose we pass a resolution requiring abstinence from all forms of food because of this abuse :rolleyes:

    One note, however, I'm not sure BMI is a good measurement of obesity. For example, by that chart, TO and Peyton Manning would be overweight, and the punter for the cowboys would be obese (have you ever seen a punter? ever seen an obese one?). Now are most people that well built? No, but if I go to the gym and build muscle (which weighs more than fat) it could be very easy for me to be overweight or obese, and yet still have a healthy/average level of body fat percentage.
     
    #2 NateT, Sep 29, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2006
  3. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    And here I thought it was just our covered dish dinners every month that made us fat!
     
  4. deacon jd

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    Gluttony is still a sin. One of the many sins that Sodom was destroyed for was fulness of bread.
     
  5. Helen

    Helen
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    Don't you think it is a cause for shame when the non-Christian groups mentioned are shown in comparison with Christians -- and Baptists in particular?
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
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    How many olympic gymnasts are overweight? How many marathon runnners are overweight? How many Tour de France winners are overweight?
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
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    When I quit pastoring, my insurance rate went to less than 1/2.
     
  8. bapmom

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    well, to be fair, AMERICANS are all getting fatter........baptist or not baptist. So since we have the highest population of baptists of anywhere in the world.......it would stand to reason that alot of those fat Americans are also Baptist.

    but hey, I agree.......we use food as comfort and because we are bored.....and then we get less exercise than we used to because of our technology, generally speaking.
     
  9. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    I quit drinkin' and gained weight.
    I quit smokin' and gained weight.
    I quit chasin' women, got married, and gained weight.
    After I turned 60 I adopted two children and lost 30 pounds
    the first six month. :1_grouphug:
     
  10. DeeJay

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    TinyTim posted an artical a while ago that I found was a wake up call.


    A Fundamental Excess

    http://www.preservedwords.com/excess.htm

    Since reading it I have droped 20 pounds. But lately have backsliden a little. Maybe there should be a section on the BB for Husky Baptists to give workout and diet advice.
    :1_grouphug:
     
  11. DeeJay

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    :thumbsup:

    I am with Ed. I gained most of my weight after quiting tobacco. And about as much again when my wife was pregnent. She would bring home gallons and gallons of ice cream because she craved it and guess who would be eating it. :BangHead:
     
  12. bapmom

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    whoa now, whenever Im pregnant my husband has to fight me for the ice cream. .........

    Im still working it off after six babies.........:sleeping_2:

    :godisgood:
     
  13. DeeJay

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    I guess my wife did not want to fight for it so she just bought more then enough. Like three cartons at a time. Now we are paying for it.
     
  14. LeBuick

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    I agree that Baptist are just a cross section of the population. One difference, we "should" be that section that doesn't party, isn't chasing or being chased by the opposite sex, isn't motivated by worldly values etc... Does that mean we should et ourselves go? It shouldn't but unfortunately it does.
     
  15. drfuss

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    I believe going to Bible study and church on Sunday mornings can be a factor in gaining weight. I was supprised this was not included in the study.

    On Sundays morning, many people rush around to get ready for church; don't have time to eat anything and are hungry; get to Bible study and grab doughnuts (sweets) which makes you more hungry; and don't eat until 1 or 2 PM. By that time you are very hungry and you pig out the rest of the afternoon.

    As weight watchers and other diets will tell you, the way to eat healthy and lose weight is to eat about six small meals a day and not to skip meals as we do on Sunday morning. The way most church people eat on Sundays is the opposite of the way we should eat.
     
  16. Gina B

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    I could just as easily do a study on the rate of crack addiction among non-baptists.

    But...I don't think either is phenomenol enough to waste time on.

    Do we really need a survey that says overeaters are fat or that crack users are addicts?

    It's all just fluff and smoke to avoid two key issues:

    1. Christians aren't living for Christ in every way that they should

    2. Non-Christians are headed for an eternity of hell.


    For Christians, we should be concerned with both issues.

    For non-Christians? We all were there, and many of us know that it doesn't matter if the issue was obesity, child abuse, drinking from a glass bottle, or forgetting to smile, we would use it as a reason to deny Christ. (well HE is a Christian and he uses an off brand of toothpaste! Well SHE is a Christian and once I saw her look slightly disgruntled!)
    Admittedly, Christians do and will continue to have failures, both minor and catastrophic.

    The point? I wouldn't worry too much about such comparisons. And if you're worried we're not as great as unbelievers? Take a glass pipe, some rolling papers, and an AC/DC cd to the next pot-luck. :cool:
     

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