Study links faith to fat - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Study links faith to fat

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Could the ice cream sundae help you more than Sunday service if you're looking to drop a few pounds?

Researchers with Northwestern University have now linked religion to obesity.

The news already has some East Texans turning to their faith even more to fight the fat.

Gaylon Clifton, 60, puts most of us to shame.

"A right relationship with God helps us build a balanced life," says Clifton.

Gaylon and the guys come to church to get their tri's, bi's, and thigh's up to size.

But, a new study says praising in the pews can make some of us pudgy.

For 18 years, researchers followed hundreds of men and women, some more faithful than others, but all of them started out at a "normal" weight.

The study found that people who went to church, regularly, at least once a week, were 50% more likely to be obese by middle-age than people who didn't go.

Maybe all the potlucks are to blame.

I highly recommend the potlucks, just eat small portions," joked Clifton.

"Oh no. I say the devil is a lie, honey," said Mattie Bowser.

Some are a bit skeptical.

"We put on the weight ourselves, we can't blame it on God because he wants us to live healthy so we can be able to do his work," says Bowser.

Green Acres Baptist Church Fitness Instructor Chris Leary says she can see how "holy rolling" can lead to more "roly-poly" waist lines.

Especially in the southern culture, people tend to attend church more, as well as eating more, and so much of what we eat is processed," explained Leary.

But other factors, like genetics, and individual habits come into play.

People deal with depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and a lot of people use food to comfort," says Leary.

Leary says that's when church becomes key.

Helping people of faith deal with the spiritual and physical.

"I refuse to go into another year being big," says  Bowser. "With the help of the Lord, I'm going to make it."

The study also noted previous research which has shown religious people tend to live longer than those who are not.

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