Can't Lose Weight? Convert to a Skinnier Religion


church picnicResearchers opened a whole new Pandora's box this week regarding obesity in America. They concluded that when it comes to staying fit, church-going ... well, apparently, it's on par with eating junk food. After analyzing data that spanned 18 years, Northwestern University researchers concluded that people who went to church or church activities at least once a week were more than twice as likely as people with no religious involvement to become obese.

Why? They blame all that FOOD that's served at church ... you know, boxes upon boxes of Munchkins, after-service picnics, etc.


I can see their point, being that all of my best memories of Sunday school at our synagogue involved some kind of snack, baking challah bread, eating hamantaschen at a Purim party, etc. If I had continued to hang out at the temple, I'm sure I would have continued to be around delicious Jewish food even more than I already was at home. (My grandma makes the best matzah ball soup you'll ever taste, and my mom's latkes are killer.) 

The study got me thinking, I wonder what religions are most prone to make you thin vs. chubbalicious?? So I conducted a study of my own, asking friends about their religious traditions and tried to deduce which religions might be the Skinnest vs. the Fattest. Here's what my very unscientific fact-gathering mission turned up ...

The Fattest Religions

Jews - Yes, I can definitely speak from personal experience here. Kosher law may prohibit pork and pairing meat with fattening cheese (just say no to a Big Mac), but we make up for it in other ways, a la bagel with some schmear, reuben sandwiches, you know, basically all of the above I already mentioned. We also joke that our holidays mostly involve the theme, "They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat!" We also have crazy doting Jewish mothers always making sure we have ENOUGH to eat! (But if we have had too much, we're told that, as well. So, you could also argue that Jewish guilt assists with staying on track with your diet.)

Protestants - Like the Northwestern researchers found, Protestants are surprisingly more prone to get fat. It's not their fault necessarily -- it's all about being so into community time! And a lot of the community time revolves around, well, eating. There are pancake breakfasts, bake sales, big picnics after church in the summer. Lots of opportunity to stuff your face with not-so-healthy meals equals a lot jiggle in the middle! (Too bad it's not Santa Claus cute.)

The Skinniest Religions

Catholics - I wouldn't think so initially either, but that may be because I grew up around a lot of Italian and Greek Orthodox Catholics who know and love their olive oil, pasta, cheeses, meats, wine, etc. (You know, the good stuff in life!) But then I started thinking, hey! They have all those fasting days for Lent and no meat Fridays! It's a killer, but sure is helpful for staying slim! Oh, plus, all that up and down in the pews, from kneeling to standing -- it's like doing squats! Jillian Michaels would be proud.

Muslims - First of all, they don't eat pork, which means no fatty bacon! Second of all, they have an entire MONTH devoted to forgoing food! Yup, during Ramadan, which spans up to 30 days, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or having sex from dawn until sunset. Rachel Zoe seems like someone who would fit in very well as a Muslim! And anyone who wants to avoid packing on pounds might do well to take a tip from them, too!


Do you think your religion has any bearing on your weight?


Image via Stevan Sheets/Flickr

diets, weight loss, spirituality


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bills... billsfan1104

I think that people have personal responsibility of what they stuff their face with. I gained 30lbs from chemo, but it is my fault(and some of the meds). I chose to stuff my fat ass with steaks, fries, mac and cheese etc. Now that I am on Weight Watchers, I can still enjoy those things at church functions, but I have learned in moderations. Our church(I am catholic), has a pancake breakfast, Chicken dinners, etc all the time. Maybe people need to stop blaming others and blame themselves.

bills... billsfan1104

Oh BTW, We dont do all that much kneeling and standing, and up and down from the pews, to make a squat of a difference. If it did, you would probably have more people go to mass.

ilove... ilovemyboys84

i think its personal responsibility...saying no to certian food and watching portions is ur resposibility. saying its because if ur religion is just anither cop out

Knitt... KnittinMama

As a pagan part of our basic belief structure centers around balance and self responsibility. That goes for EVERYTHING! I am responsible for what I eat and keeping it balanced between what I need and what I want.

Momma... MommaSiete

I don't really believe you can be skinnier by changing religions. =/

wootza wootza

This artlice, though fun, was nonsense.  You're responsible for how heavy you get (yes, yes, I'm aware some meds can make you fat, or the uncommon disease) so put down the brownie and go run a mile. 

karis... karischub

I really don't think religion has anything to do with your weight...

PinkD... PinkDiamond717

People have access to fast food every day, and it's extremely easy, quick and convenient when you're on the go, as most people are. That's the number one problem with obesity. If you eat fast food reguarly or even occasionally you are most likely to become obese way more than you would having church dinners, which probably aren't near as bad.

Secondly, how you eat when you are at home. If you buy fattening junk, you are more likely to become obese.

I've been to quite a few churches, and they don't serve food that much. Maybe every once in a while. they probably give kids in Sunday school or in the nursery snacks, but that's about it. We only had dinners at church for special occasions for the most part, and they were spread out.

Madel... MadelynMc

I think a more logical correlation would be that the more social functions you attend, the more you eat. This could be true for church functions, work functions, family gatherings, etc.

ZsMommy ZsMommy

eye rollingAt this article.

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