Health – a state of well-being

What the bible says:

We have much sickness in this world:

There will be famines and plagues (Luke 21:11);

A green horse brings pestilence and death to earth (Revelations 6:8)

I saw seven angles with seven plagues (Revelations 15:1)

Yet Jesus offers us bodily, mental and spiritual healing:

No medicine or ointment cured them. They were restored to health by your word, O Lord, the word which heals all humanity (Wisdom 16:12)

By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans12:2)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

Did you know?

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” World Health Organization, 1948*

Work and health – an estimated 1.2 million people who worked in 2008/9 suffered from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. Studies, however also show that unemployment, resulting from the economic downturn and personal factors, can lead to poor health and stress, bad diet and alcohol abuse. It can also increase sickness and obesity in children, as more people resort to buying cheap fast food.

Air pollution and health – “Worldwide more deaths per year are linked to air pollution than to automobile accidents.” Wikipedia

The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths (nearly two/thirds) due to indoor air pollution. Health impacts from air pollution includes aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies.

Indoors pollutants include mould, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (from cooking and heating), as well as volatile organic compounds (including from paints and paint strippers, cleaning products, building materials and furnishings, photocopiers and printers, correction fluids glues and permanent markers). A major source of indoor air pollution in developing countries is the burning of biomass (e.g. wood, charcoal).

Outdoor air pollution in Hounslow and Richmond comes from our cars and airplanes in the form of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, soot, and even water vapor. It also comes from Mogden Sewerage Treatment, which emits hydrogen sulphide.

Global poverty and health – For the world’s poorest countries the most critical health issues relate to child and maternal health, poor water quality and quantity, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Poverty is at the heart of why preventable and treatable illnesses are still conquering many countries.

  • “Every minute, a woman with no medical care dies in pregnancy or childbirth
  • Every hour, 300 people die of an AIDS-related illness
  • Every day, 4,000 children die of diarrhoea caused by dirty water

Millions of people in poor countries get low-quality health care, or are forced to go without it altogether. Fees are too high, hospitals and clinics are too few, and lack of medical staff means people struggle to get treated.” Source: Oxfam ‘Health and education for all’ campaign

What can we do?

“The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.”

Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990*

Physical and mental wellbeing:

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” Doug Larson*

Indoor air quality

  • Use ‘clean’ cleaners and DIY products: e.g. Ecover and Green Building Store. Cut back on use of aerosols and spray cleaners. Where possible buy low VOC paints.
  • Cooking: When you need to get a new cooker / hob switch to an electric model rather than gas.
  • ‘Green’ your house: Indoor plants can help ‘filter’ your air e.g. spider plants and English ivy are thought to be good.

Outdoor air quality

  • Get fit and fresh: help improve our local air quality by cutting down on using the car and start walking, cycling and using public transport as much as possible.
  • Support the local campaigns: Local groups are working to clean-up Mogden and prevent a third runway at Heathrow (which will further increase air pollution by greater numbers of planes and cars going to and from the airport, as well as further noise pollution)

Support the global health goals

  • You can support charities like Tearfund who are working with local churches and communities in the developing world to prevent the spread of HIV and help those already infected by the disease.
  • Support Oxfam’s campaign for ‘Health and Education for all’ which seeks to make global health care provision a reality for everyone.

*Quotes sourced from ‘The Quote Garden