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Wespath Benefits & Investments Issues Report from Health Research

EVANSTON, IL—July 31, 2017—Wespath Benefits & Investments last month posted findings from its 2017 Clergy Well-Being Survey conducted by Versta Research. Wespath is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 100,000 active and retired clergy and lay employees. Wespath’s pension fund ranks among the top 100 pension plans in the country.

The 2017 survey is the fourth that Versta Research has conducted for Wespath since the program began in 2012. The purpose is to understand ongoing health needs and to monitor changes in clergy health and well-being over time.

One cornerstone of the research has been to compare clergy health measures with matched samples of the full U.S. population. “We developed a custom method of analyzing national data compiled by the National Institutes of Health in order to match exactly the demographics of Wespath’s clergy population,” said Joe Hopper, president of Versta Research. “This gives us more powerful benchmarks, and it allows us to assess the impact of health initiatives undertaken by Wespath.”

The 2017 survey shows that efforts to increase physical activity among clergy are paying off. There has been a 16% increase in moderate activity levels since 2013, with clergy reporting almost twice as much activity compared to peers in a matched sample of U.S. adults.

The research was originally designed by the Center for Health in collaboration with Virginia Conference Wellness Ministries, Ltd., Duke Clergy Health Initiative and Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. It focuses on multiple dimensions of health, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual, and it measures professional and vocational contexts as well as workplace stresses that may affect health.

A full report of findings is available for download from Wespath’s Center for Health.

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