Adventist community called on to assist national health campaigns

Prime Minister Gaston Browne during a ceremony Saturday evening marking the 130th anniversary of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The Seventh-Day Adventist community has been called upon to assist the government in promoting its national health awareness campaign as health officials work towards reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Antigua and Barbuda.

Browne made the call Saturday evening during a ceremony at Gilbert’s Estate marking the 130th anniversary of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He said that the Adventist church members are strong proponents for a healthier lifestyle and they could play an integral role in the public education process.

“Seventh-Day Adventism places restrictions on consuming meat or flesh foods. Flesh food is injurious to health and whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul. Those are the teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  Your [positioning] for a wellness culture will lead to a reduction in the number of those who lose limbs by amputation and who suffer an early death,” Browne said.

Non-communicable diseases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), are mainly cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, cancer, respiratory diseases and asthma. The WHO says NCD’s kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71 percent of all global deaths.  For Antigua and Barbuda, diabetes is one of the main diseases plaguing nationals.

The government is currently adopting proactive approaches to tackle the problem, and one of those methods is taxing sugary beverages and incentivising the use of nutritional foods.

Meanwhile, the Adventist church is using a week of activities to mark its 130th anniversary. The activities included a grand health fair last Sunday, a mini exhibition at Gilbert’s during the course of this week, nightly meetings, a circumnavigation cruise around Antigua, and a convention on Saturday October 27.

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