Seventh-day Adventist Health Message
Since the 1860s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church. Adventists are known for presenting a "health message" that recommends vegetarianism and promotes following the health laws established at creation and reaffired in Leviticus 11. Adventists believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit as taught in 1 Corinthians 3:16,17 and as such we have been entrusted with the privilege of maintaining and improving our spiritual, mental, social and physical health. In adherence to this New Testament teaching the church discourages its members from the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, or illegal drugs.
The pioneers of the Adventist Church had much to do with the modern health movement including the health food industry. The common acceptance of breakfast cereals into the Western diet, and the "modern commercial concept of cereal food" originated among Adventists.
Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2005 issue of National Geographic, asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans. The cohesiveness of Adventists' social networks has also been put forward as an explanation of their extended lifespan. Since Dan Buettner's 2005 National Geographic story about Adventist longevity, his book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, named Loma Linda, California a "blue zone" because of the large concentration of Seventh-day Adventists. He cites the Adventist emphasis on health, diet, and Sabbath-keeping as primary factors for Adventist longevity.
Recently aired on PBS, the new one-hour documentary film titled THE ADVENTISTS focuses on Seventh-day Adventists and their unique approach to health and healing. The film looks at the surprising life spans and fitness of the practicing members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Studies show that Adventists live on the average nearly ten years longer than their neighbors.
The health ministry of the Adventist Church includes a healthcare delivery system of church-operated clinics and hospitals throughout the world. There are top-quality medical universities and schools of learning, along with "bare-essentials" clinics serving the developing world. Through all of these avenues, the goal of Health Ministries is to make people whole in an imperfect and disease-ravaged world.