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J Clin Epidemiol. 2005 Jan;58(1):83-91.

A cohort study found that earlier and longer Seventh-day Adventist church membership was associated with reduced male mortality.

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  • 1Department of Mathematics, University of Bergen, Johannes Bruns gate 12, N-5008 Bergen, Norway.



Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church generally adopt a healthy lifestyle, which is reflected by favorable mortality rates. The purpose of this study was to estimate relative mortality rates among persons joining the church in adult life compared with members of the same age who joined in childhood.


A cohort of 29,871 Seventh-day Adventist church members in California was followed for 12 years. A total of 5,109 deaths occurred during follow-up.


In men, the relative mortality at the time of entry into the church showed a curvilinear relation with age, with a maximum of about 2 for entry at age 50-60. For most ages at entry, the relative mortality first declined with increasing membership duration but later stabilized. Men joining at age 50 experienced a 15-25% reduction in relative mortality after 10 years of membership. Women joining after age 50 had a somewhat higher mortality than those who joined in childhood, with no subsequent short-term change.


The pronounced drop in relative mortality among men entering the church may reflect the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

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