Adventists launch 'I Want to Live Healthy' programme
With data from the Ministry of Health showing that in 2014 alone non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - specifically diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease - accounting for 12,773 or 68 per cent of all deaths in Jamaica, the Seventh-day Adventist church, through its Health Ministries department, has launched a healthy lifestyle initiative dubbed 'I Want to Live Healthy'.
The initiative seeks to encourage members and the wider society to adopt healthy lifestyles in part or full, including a plant-based diet including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts; regular exercise, sufficient intake of water, fresh air and sunshine, rest and a connection with God through prayer.
"We believe that with the impact that NCDs have on the society where the deaths far exceed that of our worrisome crime rate, it is time for each individual to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle," said Pastor Dudley Hosin, Health Ministries Director of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"As a Church we view the holistic nature of mankind through his health and wellbeing which is to say the physical, mental, social and spiritual, which are all impacted by the health habits of each individual."
The launch took place on Saturday at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mandeville.
Data from the MOH shows that it costs Jamaica an estimated US$170 million annually to treat persons with NCDs with diabetes posing a major public health problem accounting for 11 per cent of all deaths in persons five years and older in 2014.
We are happy to join the Ministry of Health, which has seen it fit to highlight and promote the need for healthy living and stand ready to partner with them to save lives and money and helping to make the society experience a better quality of life," added Hosin.
Each of the more than 740 Adventist congregations islandwide, through their health department, will pursue the programme by taking it to the members of the community in which they operate through seminars and health expo and the various Evangelistic Series.
Since 1863, the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church has been at the forefront of promoting healthy lifestyle through it various hospitals and Sanitariums. In Jamaica, the church operates the Andrews Memorial hospital, three clinics and various health outreach programmes.