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The Bible & Obesity

BY WARRICK LATTIBEAUDIERE

Sunday, September 22, 2019

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WHATEVER the cause of obesity — be it genes and heredity, overeating, or a slow rate of metabolism — it has grown into an uncontrollable problem for many people.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, as early as 2018, cited behavioural change as critical to reducing obesity levels in Jamaica. In fact, data from the 2016/17 Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey had one in two Jamaicans, or 54 per cent, being overweight or obese — with women being more affected than men.

What principles from God's word, the Bible, are there to address this growing concern?

1. Avoid the temptation

At Matthew 6:13, the Our Father Prayer begs that we not be led into temptation, “but deliver us from evil”.

Ask God for the strength to resist what may be bad for our bodies, such as chips, chocolates or cookies, but to replace them with low-calorie fruits, vegetables and whole grains for snacks, for “shrewd is the one that has seen the danger and proceeded to conceal himself” (Proverbs 22:3).

2. Avoid eating and drinking all that is set before you

Be selective. Proverbs 23:20 cautions “not to join those who drink too much wine or to feast with gluttons”.

Alcoholic beverages and sweetened drinks can be a major source of calories. Too much food is just not good.

3. Go slow.

It is true that haste makes waste. No wonder, Proverbs 21:5 speaks about everyone who is hasty coming to poverty.

Food is beautiful, but instead of gobbling it down, take time to enjoy its beauty — the colours, the flavours, and how foods interact, and “let the one who has ears listen” (Matthew 11:15).

Yes, listen and obey the body's signal that says, “I am full”.

4. Share your plate if given an excessive portion.

Kindness is a fruit of God's spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). That kind deed will be repaid to your body.

5. Do not be afraid to go on a strict diet to see results, and value plants over food manufactured in plants.

Daniel spoke to the steward whom the chief official appointed over the three Hebrew boys, saying: “Please test out your servants for ten days. Let us be given only vegetables to eat and water to drink” (Daniel 1:13).

The consent was given. The result? Daniel 1:15 states: “At the end of ten days, their appearance was better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king's delicacies.”

6. Exercise

The Bible encourages at 1 Corinthians 9:24 to run in such a way as to take the prize in a race. This marathon for weight loss can be won with determination, as verse 25 goes on to say: “Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline.”

7. See the food manufacturing industry for what it is, a money guzzler that wants you to eat and eat.

Unveil their clever advertising tricks and pretty pictures. Remember, “the simple man believes every word, but the prudent man watches his steps” (Proverbs 14:15).

Yes, let us watch our weight and handle food in a smart way, the Bible's way. Then and only then can it be said that we are letting our food be our medicine and our medicine be our food.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.


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