13th June 2013

Over 100,000 deaths a year in England could be prevented by changes in lifestyle and earlier intervention, according to a report published this week by Public Health England (PHE).  The report focused on the 'big killers' in the under-75 age group drawing attention to regional variations in deaths due to cancer, heart disease and obesity.

A week earlier, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association, demonstrated that vegetarians experienced 12 percent fewer such deaths during the six-year period of the research. It also noted that vegetarians were also more likely to drink less, smoke less and exercise more.

The study was conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University, California and tracked 73,308 Adventist church members who, in varying degrees, follow the Church's dietary counsel of a plant-based diet.  The Daily Mailnoted that "Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower risk for several chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease."  They quote Liz O'Neill, head of communications at the Vegetarian Society: "With higher intakes of fresh vegetables, pulses and other plant-foods, it seems obvious to many that balanced vegetarian diets are healthier than those reliant on meat, but we do not need to rely on gut instinct with so much hard evidence of that health advantage, both in the UK and abroad."

In a BUC News video report recorded in the depths of the Surrey countryside, Victor Hulbert, Communication director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland, pointed out that the Adventist lifestyle has many benefits that would help PHE achieve their goals. 'Balance' and 'joy' were two important words in his health emphasis.

The report is nothing new, according to Sharon Platt-McDonald, Health Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  "The report corroborates what Adventists have known throughout their Church's history", she states, noting that this is one of some 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers that demonstrate the advantageous outcomes of Adventist health principles.

"Demonstrating the importance of taking care of our bodies and the gift of life that God has entrusted to us, Seventh-day Adventists advocate a balanced lifestyle", Sharon emphasizes.  "With all this scientific information confirming what Adventists already know, we should now be at the forefront of both 'living the life' and sharing the good news with our neighbours, family and friends."

Across the globe Adventists are known for their healthy lifestyle and increased longevity.  Their basic emphasis is the promotion of a healthy weight, nutritious vegetarian diet (rich in vegetables, fruits and wholegrains), regular exercise, adequate rest, positive social engagement, building a relationship with God and the avoidance of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.

ADC Health coursePastor Desmond Rafferty takes this seriously.  As Principal of the Adventist Discovery Centre he is delighted that a recent promotion of the nine lesson 'Taking charge of your life' course has attracted 1,400 new applicants to enquire about Adventist health principles.

Sally from Bristol, is already reaping the benefits. She writes, "I am very lost, confused and in a dark place at present. This course has come just at the right time. Thank you."

"It is very exciting to see the significant transformations in the lives and experiences of people all over the UK", Pastor Rafferty adds. "We now look forward to sharing this experience with a wider and more diverse audience in the UK and Ireland."

The PHE report highlighting various areas of deprivation and chronic lifestyle diseases that exists across the UK may well pose a challenge for the government. However, if people choose to live more like Adventists they will likely have better outcomes for their health. As a previous Daily Mail article (15 November 2007) by Peta Bee stated in a list to 13 things to help you live longer: #8: Go to church, and #11: Be a Seventh-day Adventist.

[Victor Hulbert Photo: Matthias Mueller]

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