Here's a piece from Fox News that says church goers are heavier than the population in general. Some highlights:
Nearly one-half of the American population will be obese by 2030 according to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The researchers estimate that this will result in an additional $66 billion dollars in health care expenditures, 7.8 million new cases of diabetes, 6.8 million new cases of stroke and heart disease, and 539,000 new cancer diagnoses. This epidemic of obesity and commonly associated diseases creates a gash in the fabric of our country that threatens the future of individuals, families, and our nation.
A 2006 Purdue study found that the fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%.
Similarly, a 2011 Northwestern University study tracking 3,433 men and women for 18 years found that young adults who attend church or a bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese.
The Pawtucket Heart Health Program found that people who attended church were more likely than non-church members to be 20 percent overweight and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.
Finally, a 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76% were overweight or obese compare to 61% of the general population at the time of the study.
The piece goes on to say that the church can address being overweight (and thus, unhealthy) by setting up support groups -- something the church is usually pretty good at.
As for me, this whole issue brought to mind 1 Corinthians 6:19:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (NIV)
Or if you prefer a verse that deals with money (since this is a money blog), consider Proverbs 23:20-21:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (NIV)
I know there are those who have genetic issues that make them heavier. But these people are the exception, not the rule. We need to face facts as a culture: we are eating ourselves to death. Not only that, look how much it's costing us -- all because we can't control our mouths. And leading the way is the church. Shame on us.
I am not sure what the solution will be. Perhaps a Dave Ramsey-like person will develop a series for the church to tackle weight issues like Dave helped everyone tackle debt. I certainly hope so. And I hope it spreads to the mainstream like Dave's teachings did. I think we all know America could use a good dose of healthy eating, limited portions, exercise, and "good living."