Obesity in Christian churches: what happened to the sin of gluttony?

From Fox News. (H/T Dad)


But a potentially larger crisis is looming in the pews of churches across America. In fact, statistics suggest that the church today may indeed be in worse condition than the general population. 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.

At the church level pastors and clergy are burdened by the skyrocketing number of their members with chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and confess that a growing and disproportionate amount their time is spent caring for their ill members and less time spent in study, discipleship, and evangelism.

[…]The obesity epidemic in the church appears to be undermining the primary purpose of the church and its missions work by straining church budgets, decidedly absorbing money that would be spent on missions abroad, and consuming the time and energy of pastors and church members.

I like the tone of this article for two reasons. First, it looks at the Christian mission financially and practically, noting how factors like obesity undermine the primary missions of the church. Second, it does not propose government solutions, but only advises that pastors address the top in sermons.

Speaking for myself, these practical sorts of concerns are always at the forefront of my thoughts. I always think about how I am going to achieve things and how much it will cost. Christianity should be practical, as well as spiritual. We need to emphasize the importance of being informed and being skilled at life. I think it’s a mistake to focus so much on church attendance and spiritual things that we neglect how we are going to achieve the things that we are supposed to be achieving in the world outside of the church.

13 thoughts on “Obesity in Christian churches: what happened to the sin of gluttony?”

  1. Fatty foods are cheaper, period. Most of us conservative Christians are living on a low budget. That means Macaroni and Hotdogs, that means we get fat. It’s not gluttony to be out of shape.


    1. It is about portion sizes. Even a diet of hot dogs and macaroni ‘n cheese won’t make you fat unless you are eating more calories than what your body burns.


  2. Great article as usual. The article points to the current spiritual condition which is seen in the physical. Discipleship come to mind.
    – Taking no more than is needed.
    – Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus ( Btw, the very first temptation was with food).
    – Fasting occurs in various forms.

    Discipline (in a good way) is beneficial emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Denying oneself is not a virtue anymore and directly contradicts the media/marketing message in America.


  3. Bread, pasta, soft drinks, ice-cream, etc. All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. This = fat.


    Only eat meat, vegetables, eggs, and nuts. It’s enough. Everything else is a plan to fatten people up to make them more suggestible to non-sensical government policies.

    Healthy body = healthy mind.

    The real attack on christianity is coming from the tribe. The Talmudic tribe.


  4. This is just a theory, but overemphasis on emotionality in churches= an abundance of over-emotional people at church= a disproportionate number of people prone to drowning their sorrows in cupcakes.


  5. As an overweight person, I agree. Food has always been a crutch for me, and so has the “it’s cheaper” argument. I make less money now than I did last year, but I’ve been dieting since February and *saving money*.

    I haven’t been doing an expensive or fast-acting diet — my average weight loss is only 1.2 pounds per week. But I’ve lost 28 pounds so far and I intend to just keep on going. I’m not starving myself, either, though. I’m just eating healthier, inexpensive options (mostly boiled eggs, tuna, baked chicken, rice & beans, fruits, and veggies).

    The most beneficial aspect of it, though, is that I have felt my dependence on food going away. I was addicted to certain kinds of foods, and I was very defensive about it. Getting free from that dependence has been helping my spiritual life as much as my physical health.


    1. The Lord Jesus bless your honesty, Kelli. God stands ready to heal all who confess they have a problem. Your testimony is powerful. To confess you were addicted to food takes a humble spirit. God gives grace to the humble. To God be the glory and may he continue to bless you along this journey.


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