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Do Mormons Really Live Longer?

By Mormon.org
A family playing outside in a park, water and boats are in the background.

Is There a Secret to Longevity Hidden in Mormon Lifestyle?

Mormons are unique in a number of ways, and some of the differences that set them apart may give them a leg up on life expectancy. Since the early days of the Church when a revelation called the Word of Wisdom was instituted, Mormons have believed in nourishing the body with good food and exercise and have practiced abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, many teas, and illegal drugs. Mormons also live family-centered lives and on average devote more time to worship (a typical Sunday includes 3 hours of worship services divided into 1-hour blocks).

So, does this unique combination of beliefs and practices increase lifespan? Apparently so. A study conducted from 1980 to 2004 by non-Mormon UCLA professors James E. Enstrom and Lester Breslow concluded that “practicing Mormons in California had the lowest total death rates and the longest life expectancies ever documented in a well-defined U.S. cohort.” Another noteworthy finding from this study was that “the more strictly and constantly Mormons followed Mormon lifestyle elements, the longer they live.”

More on the Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom was given to Joseph Smith as the revelatory result of a prayerful inquiry. Tobacco use in a recurring meeting had became a nuisance to Joseph and his wife Emma. Brigham Young later gave some historical context to this repeating event that prompted Joseph to go to the Lord about the matter.

Joseph received more in that revelation than only what Church members should abstain from. He also indicated that members should use herbs and fruits in season, eat meat sparingly, and that grains were also intended for the use of man. Blessings were also promised—if members would adhere to this counsel, they would “run and not be weary, and … walk and not faint.”

Good Health Is for Everyone

Good health is something we all want. Waking up each morning in an energized, functional body is a blessing that is often fully appreciated only when we face declining health. As we work to identify healthy habits and lifestyles, everyone becomes a beneficiary. 

See how the Word of Wisdom helped this man lose weight and develop a healthier relationship with food.


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