All religions endorse the idea that we ought to take care of our bodies and not act in ways that are reckless and endanger our health.
Affiliated members are free to ignore these teachings or take them to heart. In some faith traditions, however, the respect shown for health goes beyond lip service. It may represent a key focus of their teachings. What epidemiological findings show is that being a part of a religious group or community that respects and honors the biblical idea that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God” increases the likelihood that somewhere along the way such message will have “taken,” and will have motivated healthy behavior.
You need not convert to a behaviorally strict religious denomination to improve your health or prolong your life.
First of all, it is unlikely to work unless you take that religion’s teachings on smoking, drinking, diet, sexuality, and the like seriously. And you hardly need to change your religion to do that. Second, choosing or affirming a spiritual path is one of life’s most important decisions. There are an awful lot of reasons to affiliate with or join or convert to a particular religious group, and it is hard to imagine that favorable epidemiological date belong at the top of the list. Affirming a particular religious identity ought to be for reasons of the soul…. When we place ourselves in situations where healthy living and responsible behavior are encouraged and supported, we are more likely to live that way ourselves, or at least try.
Hearing positive health messages are seeing healthy lifestyle model make it easier to adopt such ways of living. This can occur through affiliation with more conservative religious groups or membership in more religious observant congregations or through ascetic vows. But it can also occur through a hatha yoga class, or convening a group of friends to meet regularly, for meditation or participating in a study group of the teachings of Edgar Cayce or Rudolf Steiner, or being part of a Jewish Renewal chavurah. When we affiliated with other people following a specific spiritual path, it becomes easier to follow that path.