Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Churchgoers More Likely to Become Obese" I KNOW that there will be a lot of you who will not like this article which was sent to me so I'm writing this first before you scroll down to read it!
Several years ago when my nutritional coaching extended to the church I discovered that as long as I didn't 'touch' people's Sunday donuts they would listen to what I had to say!
  Interesting that eating disorders are rampant in the church because over-eating as opposed to excessive drinking, drug abuse, gambling, sex addiction and pornography,  is somehow acceptable addictions although a person with a "food problem" may be suffering just as bad as the rest.   This is frequently a terrible situation because addiction is addiction and it needs to be addressed.   If a person is dealing with an addiction there is an underlying issue causing that addiction which needs to be treated so the person can get well in order to fulfill God's purpose for their life.   What better place should there be than the church to safely deal with and heal from that addiction?  Unfortunately in most cases the whole eating junk food thing has become part of church culture and for many food can be a real problem.   In 2 Corinthians 6 verse 3 we read, "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited."
Many years ago when my husband and I were pastoring our church at Rancho Capistrano we decided to make a policy which banned donuts from the church campus.  We suggested that people bring muffins or any other healthier alternative as snacks.   I thought we were fair as most muffins aren't exactly health food either but they are a heck of a lot better than the donuts (AKA "Do-Nots'!) We also discouraged handing out candy to the children as rewards because most problems with food begin when we are young and associating candy with reward can cause problems down the road.  You get the picture, I'm sure.     Should we never have sweets or "junk food", of course not, just something to be aware of.
We were created in God's image: body, mind, and soul.   Here's what the Bible says about your body.   "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;  you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body."  1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
If you close your eyes and and recite this what comes to mind when you think of a temple?   Meditate on that for a few minutes.
A temple is a sacred place and that is how God views your body...His creation.  He dwells in you.  So honor God by honoring your bodies.
Jesus said, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'here it is', or 'there it is', because the kingdom of God is within you."  Luke 17:21     
Remember always,  God is blessing you!   Donna

Churchgoers More Likely to Become Obese                     by Michael O'Riordan
March 25, 2011 (Atlanta, Georgia) Results from a new study suggest that churchgoing folks are consuming a little bit more than the spiritual weight of God's good word [1]. Individuals who attend church frequently in young adulthood are significantly more likely to become obese in middle age, according to a new analysis of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
Presenting the results here this week at EPI|NPAM 2011, the Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism 2011 Conference, researchers say the news isn't all doom and gloom, however.
"The upshot is that we know that religious people are less likely to smoke, more likely to have better physical and mental status, and more likely to live longer," lead investigator Dr Matthew
Feinstein (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL) told heartwire . "They're doing a lot right in some areas, but there is room for improvement. There is also a lot of potential for effective initiatives to be implemented because religious organizations often have preexisting infrastructure and social support systems, which are key contributors to establishing effective health initiatives, like antiobesity initiatives."
Last year, along with senior investigator Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL), Feinstein and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort and showed that increased religious involvement, including more frequent prayer and meditation, was associated with a greater prevalence of obesity.
"Given that finding, we wanted to look earlier in adulthood in order to understand more about the longitudinal or temporal nature of this relationship," said Feinstein.
The group analyzed religious involvement in 2433 male and female participants aged 20 to 32 years old in the CARDIA trial. Participation in religious services was defined as high (at least once weekly), medium (regular, but not weekly), low (rarely), or never. After approximately 18 years of follow-up, the investigators assessed the cardiovascular risk profile, including obesity, in the now␣middle-aged participants, with middle age defined as between 38 and 50 years of age.
After adjustment for multiple variables, including age, race, sex, education, income, and baseline body-mass index, individuals with a high frequency of religious participation in young adulthood were 50% more likely than those with no religious participation to become obese by middle age.
Odds Ratios for Incidence of Obesity (Adjusted for Baseline Demographics, CVD Risk Factors, and Smoking)
Measure for Obesity  
No  religious  participation-    1.0
Low  frequency participation-    0.98
Medium  frequency participation-    1.28
High  frequency participation-    1.48
One previous hypothesis for the increased rates of obesity among churchgoing individuals had been their lower rates of smoking. As smoking acts as an appetite suppressant and churchgoers smoke less frequently, this might have led to higher rates of obesity because they ate more. However, Feinstein and colleagues performed additional analyses that adjusted for smoking and still observed an association between religious participation and obesity, almost to the same degree. In addition, based on the MESA cross-sectional data, some had proposed that obese people were more likely to gravitate toward friends and support in religious communities. However, these new longitudinal data from CARDIA implies that this too is not the case.
"It's tough to infer any causality from this, because we didn't look at specific mechanisms," said Feinstein. "One possible explanation, though, is that religious gatherings might center on eating traditional, high-calorie comfort food, and this in itself might contribute to the higher incidence and prevalence of obesity."

American Heart Association Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism / Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (AHA EPI-NPAM) 2011 Scientific Sessions


  1. Donna,

    Great article, advice and healthy research!

    But, for myself, I might splurge and divulge into Godiva fact, with-out it I tend to lose focus on my work-out goals. For myself, I need inspiration for my work-out motivation treats...which is one worse donuts or chocolates?

    Over eating

    But, its the number one best, for myself socializing with chocolates brings some great friends and deals together...So, maybe I will treat you to some heavenly Godiva Chocolates at some

    Great article, healthy info and advice...thank you, I learned a few more great healthy tips!


  2. Why you speak here from churchgoers? Everybody can be adicted to food ect. – If somebody overeat or eat to much junk food, I’m quite sure they have an unsolved problem and do not deal with it or the oposite when somebody eats almost nothing. So first, it starts in our mind, I look for help and sort my things out. I know how to eat healthy to keep body and soul together. That do not mean I never eat junk food. But I do it almost never. It’s so much fun to cook healthy. I do not mind to stand longer in the kitchen to prepare vegetables etc. – But to banish Donuts from a church campus, I think it’s not right. Everybody is responsible for themselfs and if they can’t eat it there they eat it somewhere else. I would do it! In general, a person says: I want it and never let me say from somebodyelse what I eat or not. I see it with my friends. My healthy eating and telling them about makes no difference, they still eat unhealthy. If we can we should eat healthy infront of others and tell them how tasty it is. That maybe can help. But healthy food is more expensive...!!! Church people, less somke is written in your added article. I say no, because I know personally a very faithful country gospal (USA) singer, he smokes like a pipe. We should stop with this cliche! Everybody is imperiled to take over bad and unhealthy habits. This habits comes manly, I say from not being treated right from parents, school friends and some other people we meat during our life. If we believe every word they saying negatively about us we can fast creat bad habits to calm our body etc. – I for myself know I’m a child of our most high God and he loves me like I am, thin, fat, ugly or pritty or even we are handicaped. How we cloth us not matters, just clean we have to be, that’s all! You certainly felt it DONNA. - I know I have to tell much more about this subject, because I occupy me with it everyday. My body is very important for me. Spiritally also. – So I attend almost every Sunday church service with about 20 min. worship music and prayers for others too and a healthy sermon. Every Sunday other pastors who belongs to the pastor team from the Pentacostal Church in Zurich. -- I have myself people, one day they caress me with words, next day they treat me bad in an email and send it out to all his friends. They just smile, because it has to do with his unsolved problems. – I can be hard in my comments, but I learned not to discriminate people with my words. – How to eat healthy has also to do with our spiritual body and mind. Belive it readers or not!!! So, people come online and tell your very personal opinion about this impoartant subject. Not only hid you behind a thick wall or send your opinion to the email from Donna. Please I say. I’m an open person on can speak my opinion in public seriousely. Some people agree with and some certanly not. Who cares, of course our Lord. Brecause you are important to him. – I close with the words, this morning (Swiss time) The Lord is always with you, who can be against you? ( nobody), Swiss Rose

  3. I agree entirely, particularly in church events Donna! The reason is mainly I know I can easily be tempted to eat the sweets or big plates put on at Bazaars or meetings though I have already eaten my "good" diet! But, if my friends at Church have brought their special dish or baked goods, I find it hard to not indulge. As you well remind us:

    "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

    My way of dealing with these buffets or well meaning lunches is to ensure I go first for the usual bottle of water I carry or is offered, to keep my hands and saliva glands satisfied and busy. And I get myself into conversation which keeps me from eating unwanted foods!

    Though you have naturally used Church and Rancho Capistrano examples, it is an exellant plan for all situations. I do not think you were singling out Churches but remarking on Chuches as that is where you and Robert would have most often had the experience and opportunity to implement good practices we all should follow. You are a Nutitionist/dietitian

    And yes, HE gave us a healthy body to do HIS work and if we abuse it or allow temptation to win us into poor health we are not able to serve HIM as well.

    Thank you for bravely raising this issue. We all know the cakes and pies and prize winning sweets of Church events are fun to attend and see but best not to indulge overly!

    Jan-Michael with LOVE†

  4. Hi!
    Thanks for the comments! I knew it would be controversial. The article IS "Churchgoes More Likely To Be Obese." This was not my title...I just went with it! It is written via The American Heart Association, Nutrition Department. They did the research, not me!
    I am speaking from personal experience as a pastor's wife and a nutritionist. I also have a two-year certification in Alcohol/Drug/Eating Disorders treatment and recovery. So I am speaking from some education too. As I quoted in scripture, "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path so that our ministry will not be discredited." 2 Cor 6:3 I think that each of us has our own ministry separate from a church building so we should always consider this scripture.
    Hopefully we would never think of putting alcohol out to a recovering alcoholic yet we will put massive amounts of non-nutritional garbage/food out to a person who possibly has an eating disorder. Using alcohol as an example only, it is not socially acceptable in most church settings so it's almost funny to think about. However, I think you get my point!
    Sometimes churches and individuals can be seen as causing people to "stumble" instead of lovingly helping people recover from whatever might be plaguing them.
    I do appreciate the comments.

  5. Yes, Donna and I certainly am big into healthy eating, particularly having been in the insurance business with big food companies as clients. The coloring of foods, particularly meats and veggies is horrific!

    Sadly, stores have the "notions" dep't I recall from working at a store after school. I learned these "notion" dep'ts are placed near doors and escalators with foods like sweets and other items people did not come to buy but now buy it "just having a notion" to buy it!

    I value your prayers, thoughtful posts and the comments you make as a nutriionist/dietician.

    Keep "feeding" us with both, please!!!

    He is Blessing us through your site and good thoughts, always!


  6. You could read in my last comment, I love to eat healthy... but aren't we tieing down ourselfs and make us crazy when we never ever eat this unhealth tasty sweets or something else. Are we getting sick when we eat them once in a while of course acceptably amount. I say no. On the contrary we smile and feel us good. The reason is because we are not stubborn and let ourselves a bit of freedom. That's certainly not against a spiritual and bilical life!!! God's blessings, Swiss Rose

  7. Thank you Donna for this information.
    I hardly ever eat donuts or candy. Too much sugar is not good for the immune system, in my case, the sinuses. However I occasionaly have pie for dessert or cookies with my tea. Also, I don't take sugar in tea or coffee. I learned about the effects of sugar on our bodies when I saw a naturopath. However,I don't think we should deprive ourselves from ever having sweets.

  8. I too will have get the sweet tooth cravings and that is okay, in fact good I think! It not only is a pleasure but I think listening to some cravings in moderation is our body and mind "talking" to us. I am not supposed to have milk due to calcium and kidney problems I have BUT sometimes I know I need it and pour a huge glass and wow, I sip it or guzzle it really cold and it is better than champagne at those times! Our bodies need some sweets/sugars just all in moderation only.

    Maybe Donna will comment on the occasional cravings and I think she already suggested small muffins as opposed to big double chocolate doughnuts, the kind I love but avoid!


  9. Hi All!
    Great discussion! I agree with you J.M. sometimes our bodies crave things and usually because of a deficiency of some sort. It could be a nutritional deficiency or it might be caused by and emotional deficiency. Not for me to judge or guess!
    Rose, as far as eating sweets in moderation...I agree! I avoid only a few foods altogether, one of them being donuts! In my opinion donuts are the worst food we can eat because of the following: 1) they are deep-fried in cheap, toxic oil which is loaded with Omega 6 and not good for the body at all! 2) they are loaded with white, processed sugar, again, not good for anyone!
    3) They are made from processed, bleached nutrient negative white flour, horrible for the health! All in all they have no redeeming qualities. I would rather have a piece of really great Swiss or German dark chocolate any day!!
    I do like sweets and I do not deprive myself but I do eat high quality and not too much or too often!! Rose, I know you are a really fit person and you are a very healthy eater. I have traveled with you to the Holy Land and not only have I seen how you eat, I have seen your stamina and energy too!! God is blessing all of you! Donna

  10. ...and Elizabeth, I know you are a very healthy and energetic person too. You are also trained in the sciences and a very intelligent person. I know you get it! :D

  11. Donna thanks! – Yes I have stamina in eating and in everything else I want with all my heart. Daniel Fast is an example. I did it for 10 days in January together with special church services. I succeeded and a friend of mine failed! He was not willing to give up his morning coffee! – Yes, donuts are with a lot of unhealthy indgridients. All things fried in cheap, toxic oil is not healthy; meat and french fries too. Donna, white flower too, but then you have to eat just whole grain bread. Your American big slices, white soft bread for toasting is terrible... and has no taste!!! Vegetables are helthy when you do not put a heavy sauce on them and and...! – God’s blessings, Rose

  12. All well said Donna! As we carry through Easter, I wish you and all here, HIS peace that all may continually serve HIM in good thoughts and deeds.

    He is Blessing all, always


  13. Hello Donna! :)

    I lost your blog for a while, because I was quite the fan in the beginning but I lost the bookmark and my free time.

    This was a very interesting blog post. The bible verse about treating our bodies as a temple is very powerful and important. I often feel bad that I can't help but grab some cookies on sale or brownies. :( Self-control is such a hard thing sometimes, but I guess that everyone has something they can improve on, right?

    I try to take it step by step and stay positive all the way! :)

    Thank you so much for everything you and Robert A. Shuller have done! I have been impacted in such a positive way and I hope that God will continue to bless everyone who you come into contact through, whether it's online or in every day situations! :)

    Kindest regards,

    -Elena K.


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D