There is a health crisis in America today. Two hundred million Americans are overweight and 100 million are obese. More than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. Five million people are diabetic and the number has doubled in the past 20 years. Forty percent of the population suffers from the Metabolic Syndrome, a complication of obesity and a precursor of type II diabetes. Having the Metabolic Syndrome also triples the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia. Heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death for men and women, followed by stroke and obesity-related cancers. Despite excessive caloric consumption, over three-quarters of the population have a deficient intake of one or more essential nutrients. Greater levels of obesity are actually associated with lower nutritional status. “Why are so many Americans sick and out-of-shape?” In other words, why do so many need medical care in the first place? Why do chronic medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol abound? Why is there an obesity epidemic?
As Adventist, we have a tremendous opportunity in this health and disease crisis to share our Adventist health message through health evangelism. There is a great need for this message. This health message has withstood the test of time. It has being shown to work. In addition, scientific studies of Adventist health beliefs and practices have been shown to be greatly beneficially for a long and prosperous life. This health evangelistic message is not just about health mission in faraway lands or about the church’s global network of high-quality hospitals and clinics, but also of real emphasis on personal health outreach endeavors, such as healthful cooking classes, exercise programs, stop-smoking plans, and health-screening vans etc.
Whether we are doctors, nurses, allied health workers or lay people, health evangelism starts with each one of us individually. We must all try to practice and live the health message and in doing so become “beacons” of health and healthy living for an example to our communities and the world. We must share the health message with others and as Christ set the example, meet their health needs wherever they may be. Through health evangelism, we can point people to the one who can heal both physical and spiritual disease. Christ is coming soon. We have a mandate. We must take health evangelism forward into our communities and the world.