Our Adventist health literature relies heavily on the findings of the Adventist Health Studies.1 I understand that these studies have been conducted in North America. Are the findings applicable to Adventists around the world? Is there data from other regions?
We’re very blessed to have the Adventist health message. And you’re correct—the initial two Adventist Health Studies, as well as four additional studies focusing on the health of Adventists, have been conducted in the United States, anchored and guided by Loma Linda University in California.
Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS 2) continues to study participants drawn from across North America (U.S. and Canada). Having enrolled close to 100,000 subjects, the study provides greater ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic diversity than previous studies. Until recently, Gary Fraser—internationally renowned researcher, scholar, and clinician— has guided AHS 2 as principal investigator, with outstanding leadership and service. Dr. Michael Orlich is now serving in that role.
Three U.S.-based studies are ongoing: AHS 2, the Adventist Religion and Health Study, and the Adventist Health and Smog Study. Europe, South Korea, and, most recently, Argentina and Africa have initiated Adventist health studies.
Phase one of the latest study of the health of Seventh-day Adventists has just recently been published. Daniel Ganu, professor of public health at the Adventist University of Africa (AUA), has spearheaded the African Seventh-day Adventist Health Study (ASDAHS).2 This study is being conducted across the three divisions in Africa and is examining whether the health teachings of the Adventist Church have affected the health, mortality, and morbidity of African Adventist Church members. Additionally, the data gathered will sample the health and well-being of Adventist membership in Africa and inform health education strategies/interventions needed to improve wholistic health outcomes.
The overall data accumulated from the studies are carefully processed and take into account age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the subjects. The studies have adequate numbers of subjects and are powered appropriately, enhancing credibility and applicability across global population groups.
Our column has frequently emphasized the robust consonance of Adventists’ improved health outcomes by worldwide peer-reviewed health science. We fully believe that what Time magazine termed “the Adventist Advantage”3 applies globally to all takers and results in less cancer, less diabetes, better heart health, and—possibly—improved longevity!
We salute the leadership and initiative that has guided the various Adventist Health Studies in North America, Europe, South Korea, Argentina (all ongoing), and now Africa. We are blessed as a church
to have had inspired health instruction from the Scriptures and from the pen of Ellen White—sound principles that have been confirmed again and again by health research and science.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:15, 16, NIV).
Our hope and salvation are in Christ. His will is that we enjoy shalom—life to the full—even in our brokenness. We’ve been given the wholistic health message and even the evidence that it’s effective. By His grace, let’s live it!
2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1erJCAjDGq9gY-Jy8sVcXDyrNekAdLD62/view 3 Time, Oct. 28, 1966; Gary E. Fraser, Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease: Studies of Seventh-day Adventists and Other Vegetarians (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.
Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, a board-certified internist, is an associate director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.