A new study suggests pastors neglect their own health because they're so busy tending to other people's needs.
Duke University researchers compared United Methodist pastors to other North Carolina residents.
According to the study published in The New York Times, pastors had significantly higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, arthritis, and diabetes.
"We had a pastor in our study group who hadn't taken a vacation in 18 years," Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, an assistant professor of health research at Duke University who directed one study, told the newspaper.
"These people tend to be driven by a sense of a duty to God to answer every call for help from anybody, and they are virtually called upon all the time, 24/7," she explained.
Several Christian denominations have tried to address the problem by implementing health initiatives encouraging clergymen to take time off.
Even Jewish leaders are also urging rabbis to take sabbaticals, the Times reported.
"We now recommend three or four months every three or four years," said Rabbi Joel Meyers, a past executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, which is also known as the International Association of Conservative Rabbis.
"There is a deep concern about stress," he added. Rabbis today are expected to be the C.E.O. of the congregation and the spiritual guide, and never be out of town if somebody dies. And reply instantly to every e-mail."
**Originially published August 13, 2010.