Priscilla Prevost of the Seventh Day Adventists in the Eastern Caribbean shares her ideas on the importance of eating well and keeping fit and why promoting public health has been her passion for 20 years.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
3 John 1:2. King James 2000 Bible
I am Priscilla Prevost and I have been the Health Coordinator for the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh – day Adventists since 2005. In the SDA church we take health promotion really seriously and I believe we can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our congregations and communities by bringing knowledge and advice about non-communicable diseases.
At the moment, we have a number of ongoing interventions. As well as providing information and education we also run fitness camps and train ‘health leaders’.
I have seen some major successes so far, with a move away from meat consumption to a more vegetarian/plant based diet, for example. Many people are also running more, walking more, taking up sports. It’s quite impressive!
“As a church elder, I preach that God wants us to look after ourselves not only spiritually but physically too. Our health is important to Him and it should be to us as well.”
A passion for public health
Promoting public health has been my passion for more than 20 years. I have a background in nursing and now I’m also involved in broadcasting. On my regular radio shows on the Dominica Broadcasting Service, I give practical tips to listeners, such as how to have a healthy breakfast and the importance of growing our own food.
“It’s important to reach out to everyone in society. We all need to get involved.”
I think it’s important to spread the message of health and wellness beyond my church. We are now running a general lifestyle intervention programme that touches all communities in Barbados and Dominica. The Complete Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) has many graduates who have experienced remarkable improvement to their overall health, but specifically improved blood pressure, normalised blood sugar, reduced cholesterol, better weight management and reduced cardiovascular risk. This intervention was made possible through a CHIP facilitators training held in Barbados in February 2015.
I also spread the message through corporate wellness programmes, working with companies in Dominica where I’m based. We do very detailed health checks among hundreds of employees and I’ve seen marked improvements in certain individuals year after year. It’s important to reach out to everyone in society. We all need to get involved.