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Church clubs help elderly live longer, study finds

Tue 16 Feb 2016
By Aaron James

New research has found older people are more likely to live longer if they're part of church clubs.

The study has found that being part of a regular social gathering like a church lunch club or a book club had nearly as much benefit to an elderly person's health as regular exercise.

It tracked the lives of more than 400 elderly people, to see the effects that retirement had on their health.

Specifically, those who had two group memberships before retirement had a 2% risk of death in the first six years of retirement if they maintained membership in two groups. This increase to a 5% risk of death if they lost one group and a 12% risk if they lost both groups.

In comparison, researchers found that if a retired person exercised significantly once a week before retiring and maintained this amount after retirement, they had a 3% chance of dying in the next six years, a 6% chance if they decreased this frequency to less than weekly and an 11% chance if they stopped exercising vigorously altogether.

The researchers said after their study: "Retiring from work constitutes a major life transition that most people experience at some point in the course of their life, posing significant challenges to health and wellbeing.

"The number of groups that retirees are members of is a predictor of both their subsequent quality of life and their likelihood of dying; being as good a predictor as physical activity."

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