Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Jaspine Bilima

Second Advisor

Katia Reinert

Third Advisor

S. Joseph Kidder



Jacksonville, Florida’s adult population has an obesity rate of 65.4% which is slightly lower than both regional and national averages (66.1%) but higher than the state average (63.2%).


A faith-based weight loss program was developed for the residents of the west side of Jacksonville. The intervention incorporated behavioral, spiritual, and psychological modules. The program lasted a total of 10 weeks from beginning to end, with the main segment taking place over a 40-day (6-week) period. Participants underwent two biometric screenings, one at the beginning of the program and one at the end. They had daily health challenges such as exercising within their target heart rate, practicing intermittent fasting, using a Fitbit tracker, spiritual reading, personal reflection, and met weekly for six weeks in a support group. Participants were encouraged to look to God as the active agent of change in their lives while at the same time learning accurate and practical scientific information concerning weight loss.


Of the 20 participants who started the program, 15 completed it. Over the course of the six weeks, participants on average lost 3% of their present body weight (6 lbs. per participant), with the greatest amount of weight lost being 18 lbs. Participants saw a decrease in their body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol levels. Triglycerides and glucose remained unchanged but still within the normal range. Secondary benefits were also seen among participants such as less frequent migraines, freedom and confidence in movement, positive feelings about their self-image, a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, joy, renewed sense of control over their lives, and improved body composition.


Based on the favorable turnout from the community and the positive weight loss results achieved by participants, faith-based weight management programs can be a successful means through which the local church can bless the community. The development of an Adventist faith-based weight management program should be strongly considered.

Subject Area

Weight loss--Florida--Jacksonville; Community health services--Florida--Jacksonville; Seventh-day Adventists--Florida--Jacksonville; Missions, Medical--Florida--Jacksonville