Reader Question: Are the Amish Healthier?

Amish facts/history, Amish photos Comments: 40

This week we have a reader question to answer. I love those! The question is–

Are the Amish healthier than most? It seems like they would be …

That’s a really great question. My sense of things after visiting Amish communities for 10 years is YES. After all, they’re out in the sunshine, they’re not tied to a computer, and they eat more naturally.  Their life is simpler, and so it must be better. Right? I decided I better do a little research.

Erik over at Amish America had a blog post about this very thing. Erik has a lot of contacts in the Amish world, and I trust his opinions. If you read his post here, you’ll see that his answer to the question is a resounding “Maybe, sometimes, in a way.” Ha! I can completely relate to that answer.

Erik also quotes a Time Magazine article that claims the Amish stay healthy even in their old age. This makes sense to me. If you’ve read much Amish fiction, you know that as the Amish age they usually move to a Dawdi Haus, a smaller house on their child’s property. They’re still involved with the family, they’re still helping around the house, and they’re eating good, regular meals. Those things all have to help someone who is elderly.

When I’ve talked to the Amish about this there were a few things that stood out:

  • Diabetes and heart disease are as prevalent in Amish communities as Englisch. This is largely due to their high carb diet.
  • Allergies are almost non-existent. I’ve read several pieces on this, and doctors don’t know if it’s because there’s no carpet and drapes in the home, if the children simply develop better resistance to allergies because they’re outside more, or if it’s something else.
  • One of the strangest things I came across is that there is very little if any incidence of autism among the Amish. Again, doctors aren’t sure why. Is it the lack of technology? Or something genetic?

I think we all know that being outside and stressing less would be good for our health. We see the Amish do it, and we wonder if we could. The answer is yes, but it’s harder to do so in the Englisch world. It’s hard to turn off the news and go outside.

So what about you? Do you think the Amish are healthier? Leave me a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a box of books. They’ll be “back copies” which means books that have been previously released (earlier in the year or even in previous years). I’ll sign them generically, and if it’s something you already have you can gift it to a friend or library. Our winners from the last blog were Alice Boor, PJ Kappe, and Cori Dahmen.  Ladies, you should have received an email from me–so check your email! If it’s not there, send me an email through the Contact button at the top of this page. And if anyone else has a Reader Question, send it to me via the Contact button, and I’d be happy to try and answer it.

Blessings,

VC

Announcements for this week

  • I wanted to reach out to my KindleUnlimited friends, so I’m going to rotate a series in and out of that program. For the next 3 months, Coyote’s Revenge and Roswell’s Secret will only be available through KindleUnlimited, or you may purchase them from Amazon. On October 17th, I’ll pull them out and put another series there. Hopefully we can reach more readers this way and keep everyone happy. If you read on other platforms, no worries. CR and RS will be available Wide again on October 17th.
  • I’m participating in several cross promotions this month. There’s a fun Women Solving Crimes, that includes my cozy Dead Wrong (on sale for $2.99 through 7-26-20). There’s also a Beat the Summer Heat promo that includes Security Breach, my latest collection of 4 cyber novellas. And lastly a Get ’em While They’re Hot promotion that also includes Security Breach.
  • My entire Bishop series will go on sale in ebook format (all vendors), on 7-28 and continue for about a month. Each book will be priced $1.99, so check that out!

Leave a Reply

40 thoughts on “Reader Question: Are the Amish Healthier?

  1. Debbie Earls

    I think the Amish are healthier because of the lifestyle they lead. They still have stress, but I don’t think they have as much as we do in the “modern” world.

    Reply
    1. Pat Rzonca

      I think they are healthier in ways we are not…clean eating, exercise, care of their elderly. But they have many genetic issues because of inter family marriages.

      Reply
      1. vannettachapman Post author

        Hi Pat. Their lifestyle does seem to be quite a bit different from mainstream America. There are genetic issues, but they’re due to a small gene pool. That isn’t quite the same as inter-family marriages–and part of the bishop’s job is to trace family lines and be sure that doesn’t happen.

        Reply
    2. vannettachapman Post author

      Hey Debbie. They definitely have stress–what family doesn’t? But it’s different than ours. I’ll agree to that. National news/events are mostly not on their radar at all.

      Reply
  2. Marie

    I agree it seems like the sunshine should afford better health. There is also genetic issues in their tight knit communities I believe.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Marie. See my reply above to Pat’s comment. The genetic issues are definitely being studied, identified, and addressed.

      Reply
  3. Deanne Patterson

    I believe in some ways the Amish are healthier than us Englishers. They are outdoors a lot more than us working and playing which is good exercise. They do bake and eat a lot of sweets though and eat a lot of high carbohydrates foods which will add on the pounds and lead to unhealthy bodies. We can get away with eating not so well when we are younger if we have no other health problems but as we get older our bodies need the correct nutrition to be healthy and function at optimum power.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Deanne. They are outdoors more. I wonder if there’s a higher incidence of skin cancer. I certainly haven’t heard of it if there is.

      Reply
  4. beth

    The autism part is interesting. Not enough englisher in them. Eating carbs and fats is fine when it’s non GMO and you work your tail off physically every day. If they drink their own milk the enzymes are not pasturized out so less milk allergy. There are a lot of issues with the close bloodlines within small communities.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Interesting that you bring up the milk — Amish do drink unpasteurized milk, and they believe it’s good for them. My mom said that she grew up drinking it still-warm from the cow. lol.

      Reply
  5. Barbara Dierksheide

    I think there is probably less incidence of autism among the Amish, but I also think their identification of learning problems is different from ours. They have learning problems among their children, but because of more individual attention the approach is different. They all help each other and nurture each other. This certainly doesn’t “cure” problems but there is more community involvement.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Barbara, I think you’re spot on. They have a completely different viewpoint toward the handicap–whether it be mental or physical. They literally think of them as one of God’s angels sent here for them to care for. There’s no drive to “fix” them, and the extended family is involved with their care.

      Reply
  6. Janie K

    My opinion is that their faith being such a center of their lives and the hard work taking care of the basics of life contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Janie. I think both of those things help. They’re not overly worried about political upheaval, whether professional athlete kneel or stand, or what’s happening overseas. Not to say they’re completely ignorant, they just don’t monitor those things daily–which has to help with stress.

      Reply
  7. Kelly Holloway

    I would think they would be healthier. They are outside a lot , both working and playing. And they would eat a healthier diet. I assume they eat less pre-made meals.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      They do eat out less–usually only to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. So there’s not the “to go food” syndrome that we have. Though I did eat fried chicken once that an Amish woman prepared by coating the chicken in post toasties. 🙂 So some of our modern ways have rubbed off on them.

      Reply
  8. Donna Bascle

    I would think they would be healthier overall because of their lifestyle. A plain and simple lifestyle without all the distractions of the English world sounds really good sometimes.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Donna. It’s super hard for us to imagine, but that is true. They don’t have those daily distractions that we have, and so many of them do affect our health as well as our peace of mind.

      Reply
  9. Pamela Kappel

    I think the Amish are healthier because of all the work they do!When I read a true article from an Amish woman here in Iowa she tells about how early they get up and how much they have to do each day!It sounds like they don’t sit around very much!

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Pamela. Your comment reminds me of one of the first times I visited an Amish farm. One of the older girls (probably 18-20) never stopped working the entire time we were there. I wanted to sit down and rest for her. It’s hard work living the way they do. I imagine they sleep well at night.

      Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      I imagine they burn more calories than I do in a day, but yes–they eat well too!

      Reply
  10. Brenda Murphree

    I would think the Amish would be healthier because they work a physical job and that’s exercise.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Most of them do, though one of the articles I referenced (Amish America) mentions a trend away from that. Many Amish now have “cottage businesses” to help make a living and that has resulted in less farming and therefore less exercise, which has resulted in some of the same health problems we have.

      Reply
  11. Kay

    I think in general healthier but I think particularly of the genetic disease because of so much intermarriage. I’m curious about their incidence and responses to the corona virus

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      The genetic diseases are caused by the small gene pool, but you’re not the first to mention this. I think I’ll address it for my next blog. Thanks for the idea!

      Reply
  12. Joy Richardson

    I would say yes and no about the Amish being healthier. As far as overall health, they probably are; however, they do have a tendency to have diseases and things that the English don’t have. My overall consensus would be that they are probably about as healthy as the English!

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      All things being equal, you might be right! I think their mental and spiritual well-being is better. That’s not to say their life is perfect, but imagine no daily news, no Facebook, no professional sports controversies, no politics …

      Reply
  13. Linda McFarland

    I think the Amish have the same health issues we do. What helps them is the exercise they get and eating home-cooked meals rather than take-out.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Linda. I’ve seen a buggy going through a McDonald’s before, but I think it’s a “special treat” rather than a common event. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Denise Smith

    I think that the Amish are healthier due to their lifestyle. The fresh air, hard work, simple lifestyle, and close relatives all would contribute to their health. Since they are such a faithful group, that would also help. Because of their lack of materialism, they would have less worry as the finances wouldn’t be taxed as they are usually in our modern world and our “wanting it right now” often makes life hard.

    Reply
    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Hi Denise. You certainly hit on a lot of the points that are relevant … especially the “wanting it right now.” Sometimes we forget how stress-inducing that urge can be.

      Reply
  15. Patricia Shrader

    I would venture to guess that, like us, some Amish are healthier than others. Also like us, some probably espouse good diet and exercise, and some do not. But it’s great that their culture, as well as other cultures, are studied for benefits and detriments. Have a peaceful day, Vannetta!

    Reply
  16. Ola Daniel

    I do believe that they are healthier in general, however they do have a higher incidence of certain genetic diseases that impact quality of life and life expectancy.

    Reply
  17. Jackie Tessnair

    I think the Amish are healthier. I think their simple living, their faith and the way they eat makes a huge difference. I do know they get sick but I think they rely more to home remedies than putting chemicals in their body. Thanks for sharing your posts Vanetta,I truly enjoy reading them.

    Reply