AHS-2 Researchers Share Study Results, Health Tips at Camp Meetings
Story by Barry Manembu
Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) researchers visited several camp meetings around the Columbia Union Conference. Many of 96,000 study members of AHS-2 are church members in the Columbia Union.
Last July the National Institutes of Health awarded AHS-2 $5.5 million to continue the study for another five years and these camp meeting visits were all about sharing the latest results with study participants while giving a personal face to the research.
“Despite the fairly tight schedule, all of the presentations were warmly received,” said Terry Butler, DrPH, one of AHS senior researchers assigned to do the presentations at the Ohio Conference Camp Meeting. “Several people, who wanted for more information, even followed me to the foyer to ask questions afterwards.”
Titled “Are Adventists Living Longer and Healthier? Latest Findings from the Adventist Health Studies,” his presentation underlined the preliminary findings from AHS-2 and its sub-study, the Adventist Religion and Health Study. “We now know that vegetarian Adventists have lower mortality rates, and lower rates of certain cancers compared to non-vegetarian study members,” said Butler, an epidemiologist and pastor who met several study members while at camp meeting.
Another senior co-investigator, Patti Herring, PhD, accompanied by her research assistants Donna Richards and Nicceta Davis, shared study results at the Allegheny East Conference Camp Meeting. She, too, received positive responses from the attendees. Her presentation began with a video clip of news coverage of the AHS-2, followed by a quick summary on the health outcomes of study participants in this particular conference. This include the percentage of those who reported having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, patterns of meat eating or vegetarians, and levels of physical activity. She shared a few health tips for managing high blood pressure, managing diabetes, lowering cholesterol, preventing health disease and lowering their risks of various cancers.
“We looked at meat eating patterns in Black study members and found that vegans had the best health outcomes. They reported less high blood pressure, less diabetes and lower blood cholesterol than non-vegetarians,” explained Herring, a health promotion professor at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University (Calif.).
She also shared how camp meeting attendees can improve their own health indices. And that was very encouraging for the attendees who were largely from African-American congregations. “Blacks have the worst health conditions compared to other ethnic groups in America, but this is our time to tell the world that Black Adventists have better health outcomes,” said Herring, challenging the audiences.
To learn more about the Adventist Health Study-2 and its findings, visit adventisthealthstudy.org.
Photo: Terry Butler, DrPH, is flanked by two AHS-2 participants at the Ohio Conference Camp Meeting.