The next time Black Seventh Day Adventists appear at your door, take a good look at them. The members of the religious group before you are among the nation’s healthiest citizens regardless of race, and it is not just because they spread the gospel regularly by walking. Although, that quite possibly helps.
A new survey shows that the Adventists' mix of a healthy lifestyle and religious faith contributes to better health and greater longevity among its African-American members. The results are striking as Blacks, due to health care and income disparities, are generally counted among the nation’s unhealthiest citizens.
An article on UPI.com reports that the results of a survey and tests administered by the Adventist Religion and Health Study by Loma Linda University School of Public Health show that “Black Adventists reported better physical and mental quality of life than the U.S. norm” when researchers compared the results from a national sample of those who took the same survey.
Nearly 11,000 Adventists, including 3,400 African-Americans, were surveyed.
The study’s principal investigator, Jerry Lee, said in a statement that "it is striking that, although in the general population blacks show poorer quality of life on a variety of measures, our results show that black Adventists have a significantly better quality of life than the average American. This difference is particularly pronounced in older age groups, who progressively demonstrate increased mental health—lower depression, more energy, feeling more calm and peaceful, etc.—relative to the general population. This could be a result of the healthy lifestyle choices that are built into the Adventist faith."
Adventists are known for their adherence to a lifestyle that emphasizes exercise, a vegetarian diet, non-smoking, eating nuts, consumption of water, social support and attending church regularly. The survey reports that these factors are predictors of longevity in Adventists.
Read the study Cohort Profile: The Biopsychosocial Religion and Health Study here, and search it using key word: Black. The 2006/2007 study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, and also included Loma Linda’s Schools of Medicine, Religion, and the Department of Psychology. All the the participants answered questions about their religious beliefs and practices, stressful life experiences, psychological characteristics and social life. A select group also underwent physical performance testing and blood pressure, weight, body fat, and waist and hip circumference examinations.
(Photo: Seventh-Day Adventist World Church Logo)