As a product of an Adventist upbringing, stewardship was a term that I became familiar with early in my life. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines stewardship as, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” Although stewardship itself was not a foreign concept to me, it was one that I previously did not fully comprehend. My understanding of stewardship was only limited to ‘good financial management’ but as I became more knowledgeable, I realized that stewardship was so much more than just that. There are many blessings God has entrusted to our care that we are expected to manage responsibly and of these many blessings, I would like to focus on health.

Did you know that it is quite possible for one to be deemed an unfaithful steward of one’s health? Upon self-reflection, if you are not a faithful steward in this regard, this article serves as a wakeup call. Being a faithful steward of your health shows God that you are grateful for the gift you have been given and this honors him.

In 2019 the top 10 causes of death in The Bahamas were listed, included in this list were ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertensive heart disease, and chronic kidney disease.1 The major risk factors for most of these diseases can be largely controlled with lifestyle modification. These modifiable risk factors include poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity among others. In 2019 the STEPS survey was undertaken by The Bahamas Ministry of Health which reported that 71.6% of Bahamians are overweight or obese. This doubles the global prevalence, which is currently at 39%.2 This report is quite concerning as, studies have confirm that obesity is a major public health problem which results in decreased life expectancy especially in younger age groups.3 The survey also revealed that the diet of most Bahamians is poor with a majority of Bahamians drinking an average of 2 cans of soda per day, consuming more than double the recommended daily 2 grams of salt and eating less than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.2 It is safe to say that these statistics reveal that as a nation, Bahamians have been poor stewards of their health.

I am proud of the Seventh-day Adventist (S.D.A) health message. This message emphasizes and promotes good physical, mental and spiritual health. The S.D.A health ministries have adopted the acronym N.E.W.S.T.A.R.T to assist with delivery of this health message. Good Nutrition, daily Exercise, recommended daily Water intake, Sunshine, Temperance, fresh Air, lots of Rest, and Trust in divine power are all essential. Applying this acronym to our daily lives will ensure that we are on the right path to becoming faithful stewards of our health.

Our bodies, including the life within, is a blessing from God and is to be used in service for Him. In order for this to happen we must take care of our bodies and strive to be healthy.

“Those who thus shorten their lives by disregarding nature's laws are guilty of robbery toward God”.

The Apostle John in his letter to Gaius wrote in 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”.

This is what I also wish for everyone reading this article. If you require guidance, please do not hesitate to speak to the Health Ministries team of your church. 

--Dr. Nasasha A. Bootle-McKinney BSc (Hons), MBBS, District Medical Officer- North Andros, Health Ministries Leader- Lowe Sound Seventh-day Adventist Church.