The Korea Herald


Clergy live longest, athletes shortest

By 배지숙

Published : April 4, 2011 - 19:02

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A lifestyle of temperance seems to lead to longevity as shown in a recent study that found religious leaders live longer than other professions here.

Journalists, on the other hand, with their high-stress lifestyles, binge drinking and chain-smoking habits, live 13 years less than the religious leaders, according to research by professor Kim Jong-in of Wonkwang University.

The findings were based on an analysis of deaths among 11 occupations depicted in 3,215 newspapers obituaries and data from Statistics Korea between 1963 and 2010. Religious leaders lived an average of 80 years, followed by politicians (75 years), professors (74 years), businessmen/women (73 years), legal experts (72 years) and high-ranking officials (71 years). Artists including showbiz entertainers lived an average of 70 years while athletes, writers and journalists were at the bottom with 67 years.

The polarization among occupations was even more serious in the decade leading up to 2010 as clergymen lived an average of 82 years, in stark contrast to entertainers at 65 years. Journalists made little improvement by living 72 years. Kim said that, in the 1980s, the lifespan gap between clergymen and writers widened to 19 years.

Kim suggested the reasons for religious leaders’ longevity were keeping daily routines and regular meditation; strong relationships including family and less greed; not smoking or drinking, plus eating less and living in cleaner environments.

“The gap between clergymen and other people has narrowed in recent times since more people are interested in keeping themselves fit and healthy. They are quitting smoking and drinking, which is clearly a good way to achieve longevity,” Kim said.

By Bae Ji-sook (