Atheism, obesity and self-esteem

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Atheists have higher rates of suicide than the general population. Please see: Atheism and suicide

According to a Gallup Inc. poll with a sample size of 554,066 adults, "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious."[1]

In the journal article Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations, explanations, and implications, psychologists McCullough and Willoughby theorize that many of the positive links of religiousness with health and social behavior may be caused by religion's beneficial influences on self-control/self-regulation.[2][3] Furthermore, a 2012 Queen's University study published in Psychological Science found that religion replenishes self-control.[4][5] Also, numerous studies indicate that those who engage in regular spiritual practices have lower mortality rates.[6][7] For more information please see: Atheism and obesity

Studies indicating that individuals who reject Christianity have lower self-esteem

There are preliminary studies indicating that individuals who reject Christianity in Western cultures have lower self-esteem than the Christian population.[8][9]

Obese individuals and self-esteem

In addition, obese individuals can have lower self-esteem related to their obesity.[10] In the United States, obese people are often stereotyped as being "lazy, lacking self-discipline and being mentally slow" (Medical science research indicates that excess weight impairs brain function.[11]).[12] In March 2011, USA News and World Report declared that an Arizona State University study suggests that fat stigma has gone global.[13] In addition, parts of the world that once viewed being overweight favorably now hold negative views concerning having extra pounds and also hold negative views concerning overweight individuals.[14]

Poor self-esteem has been linked to an increase in suicide attempts and atheists have higher rates of suicide than the general population.[15][16][17] Obese atheists likely have significantly higher rates of suicide than the general public.

At the same time, there is a significant portion of the atheist population who suffer from excess self-esteem/pride issues (see: Causes of atheism).

See also


  2. Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
  4. Religion Replenishes Self-Control, Psychological Science, June 2012 vol. 23 no. 6 635-642, Kevin Rounding, Albert Lee, Jill A. Jacobson and Li-Jun Ji at Queen’s University
  5. Study finds religion helps us gain self-control
  6. Religious involvement and mortality: a meta-analytic review. McCullough ME, Hoyt WT, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Thoresen C., Health Psychol. 2000 May;19(3):211-22.
  7. The role of spirituality in health care, roc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2001 October; 14(4): 352–357.