People who post ‘God’ and ‘pray’ on Facebook are more likely to develop these life-threatening conditions

MarketWatch | 6/18/2019 | James Wellemeyer
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Language in Facebook FB, -0.29% posts may be able to predict whether someone will develop diabetes and other conditions including depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, sexually-transmitted diseases, and drug abuse better than demographic information like age, sex, and race.

People who often use the words “God” and “pray” in their Facebook posts are 15 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who rarely use those terms on the platform, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine finds.

Diabetes - Adult-onset - Diabetes - Body - Resistance

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the body develops a resistance to insulin, leading to high blood-sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body stops or dramatically slows insulin production.

Merchant’s team of researchers from Penn Medicine and Stony Brook University collected old Facebook posts from 999 adults who agreed to be part of the study. More than three-quarters — 76% — of study participants were women, 71% were black, and 70% were 30 years old or younger.

Black - Americans - Rate - Type - Diabetes

Black Americans have a higher rate of Type 2 diabetes, but the study compared those who used the words “pray” and “God” in their posts versus those who did not. The former were more likely to have Type 2 diabetes.

“This is a population that traditionally isn’t studied in early research, so we are glad to have studied this group,” Merchant said.

Persistent - Problem - Half - US - Population

It’s also a persistent and growing problem: Nearly half of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030, according to one study published by the peer-reviewed journal, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

What is behind the connection between prayer and obesity?

Raina - Merchant - Author - Study - Director

Raina Merchant, the lead author of the study and the director of Penn Medicine’s Center for Digital Health, said she didn’t know exactly why “God” and “pray” were linked to diabetes.

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