May 2, 2014

​In North Mexico, Church Shares Health Message Where Obesity is an Epidemic

In North Mexico more than 20,000 salad portions
were distributed in Monterrey’s Explanada de los Heroes Park during an
eight-week health impact initiative led by the Adventist Church to promote a
healthy lifestyle amid the growing epidemic of obesity in the country. The
packaged salads were given out for free on April 13 while government leaders,
church leaders, and members, supported the church-run initiative “I Want to
Live Healthy.”

Dr. Jesus Zacarias Villarreal, state health
secretary for Nuevo León, praised the work of the organizers for the initiative
and pointed to obesity and associated diseases as a result of poor nutrition, constituting
the major public health problem in Mexico and the state of Nuevo León.

Pastor Filiberto Grajeda (third from left), president of the Northeast Conference in North Mexico, speaks to Health Secretary of the State of Nuevo Leon Dr. Jesus Zacarias Villarreal (fourth from left) as they enjoy a salad with other church leaders during the activity on Apr. 13, 2014. Image by Aljafet Chablet/IAD According to Villarreal, obesity affects 71
percent of the adult population in the state, due to poor nutrition and sedentary
lifestyles, which also lead to health problems such as diabetes, high
cholesterol, and hypertension, among others.

“We have been closely coordinating with the ‘I
Want to Live Healthy’ initiative,” said Villarreal. “It is a broad-reaching
movement and at the state government we are satisfied and happy to celebrate the
launch of this program.”

More than 7,000 volunteers from churches in the
Northeast Mexican Conference participated in setting up a giant salad display
and information booths on the eight steps to live a healthy lifestyle. These
steps include drinking water, having a positive attitude, eating salads,
exercising, resting, avoiding poor foods, eating better breakfast, less dinners
and promoting happiness as a lifestyle, organizers said.

The event was covered by local television and
print media, organizers said.

The outdoor activity was part of North Mexico Union’s
impact evangelism program to reach people with the health message, said Arturo
King, union president.

“This [event] was actually an initiative led by
our Northeast Mexico Conference and is part of the union’s larger strategy to
continue introducing the health message to our communities,” said King. “We
have seen many join the church because of this eight-week evangelism effort.”

The effort ended the special health initiative
program on April 19, 2014, at Monterrey Arena, where more than 11,000 people
gathered to hear testimonies of dozens who had changed to a healthier lifestyle
during the eight weeks of the initiative as well as hear messages of the
importance of spiritual health by evangelist Alejandro Bullón.

The final program was transmitted by Esperanza TV
and 3ABN Latino.

For Gloria Elena Marroquin, a volunteer who
participated in promoting health habits in Monterrey, the initiative awakened
the interests of many people.

“We saw that real health concerns exist in the
population. People have health problems because often they don’t know how to
maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Marroquin.

Maria Guadalupe Eguia liked the initiative and
added that “there has to be a culture to learn how to eat better, one that we
have learned here and yet sometimes we don’t use it for ourselves or our children.”

Church leaders are happy with the results of the
initiative and continue to plan in the coming weeks and months to share a
healthier lifestyle with the people of Nuevo León.

The “I Want To Live Healthy” church initiative
has been implemented in 17 states in Mexico. The program centers around the
health message which focuses on the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being
of the person.

For more information on the church in North
Mexico and its initiatives, visit