UMC Clergy struggle with health issues according to latest report

Is weight an issue for you? Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure? How about high cholesterol? Depression?

These are just a few of the questions from the 2015 Clergy Health Survey sponsored by The Center for Health of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB), and their report, released last week, suggests that United Methodist clergy are struggling with a variety of health issues.

Most significantly, based on the responses of over 1,500 clergy from across the connection, 42% of UM clergy are struggling with obesity, and almost half of the respondents are dealing with high cholesterol. These levels are significantly higher than those of the U.S. averages for people of the same makeup in age and ethnicity.

A third of UM clergy (35%) also suffer from high blood pressure, while some 12% are diabetic.

Clergy are also struggling with mental illness as well. 7% of clergy are dealing with serious depression, almost twice as high as comparable benchmarks, and 26% have at least some functional difficulty due to depressive symptoms, again, higher than the national averages.

There were differences in health issues between the different categories of clergy. Part-time local pastors recorded the lowest levels of stress in their ministry settings, but were more likely to be overweight and suffer from diabetes and hypertension. Full-time pastors, including elders, struggle more with spiritual and emotional health. Clergy who change appointments more frequently show great health risks across the board than those who are more stable in their appointments.

Click here to view the full report.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at

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