Life and Health is a monthly periodical published by the Brazil Publishing House of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Brazil. Its aim is to promote health and lifestyle education.
Life and Health has been circulating without interruption in Brazil since 1939. It consists of 52 colored pages divided into 20 fixed sections that discuss science through the perspective of preventive health. Underlined by the principles of food reeducation and physical activity, the review Life and Health has been working toward building a pro-health Brazilian mindset for eight decades. However, the first attempt to create the publication occurred 25 years earlier.
In 1914, CPB launched the 16-page periodical Health and Life. “At that time, Brazil Publishing House in Santo André, State of São Paulo, rehearsed the first steps in the National publishing market. Therefore, in 1914, the first health review for the Brazilian audience was launched, during the peak of World War I. The first issue, with 16 pages, contained themes such as the harmful effects of alcohol and cigarettes, guidelines for tuberculosis patients, infant feeding, first aid in the event of burns and other prevention topics.”1 However, Health and Life only circulated for a few months.
In 1939, the project of having a health publication in Brazil resurfaced with the title Life and Health, a review that was published monthly and distributed throughout the national territory. Life and Health began with 24 pages, in black and white, and a cover printed in two colors. In 1955, the review layout greatly improved, as well as the final art, the cover paper, and the color-printing quality. In 1961, its content won two-color printing and an extension of four pages. Ten years later, there was a great revolution in the visual, with the use of white spaces and abundant colors. But only in 1980 did it win a four-color print set.
Although there is no record that the review Life and Health is Brazil's most popular magazine on healthy lifestyle, much evidence suggests it to be the forerunner to health journalism, promoting prevention and longevity mechanisms. Other national magazines are more recent compared to Life and Health. “It was only from the 1980s that similar publications started to emerge, out of a concern for body care.” 2
Since 1930, when studying was not everyone's privilege and medical science was not as advanced as it is today, Life and Health has offered information to those interested in health issues. Its guidelines, at the time considered innovative, drew the attention of ordinary people who wanted to obtain practical knowledge about a healthy lifestyle.
The editorial philosophy of Life and Health review distinguishes itself regarding its focus on longevity through prevention, which led to discussions many decades later. Zinaldo Azevedo Santos, editor of the review from 1997 to 2003 stated: "I am convinced that Life and Health is at the vanguard of all existing publications on health. There is not a single aspect addressed by other publications that has not been part of the philosophy of Life and Health review since its beginning.”3
The promotion of health through the re-education of habits has always been the objective of the publication. Based on eight "natural remedies" – vegetarian diet, exercise, water, clean air, sunlight, abstinence from harmful things (alcohol, smoking, and other drugs, as well as vices and negative feelings), rest and trust in God – the review promotes a simple and healthy lifestyle.
An advocate for holistic health, the review Life and Health considers that health is much more than the absence of disease. Rather, health is a state of the whole being, for which several factors compete. Based on this philosophy, in 1939, when obesity was not yet a national and international public health problem, the review had already addressed this issue. In September of that year, a two-page article was entitled, "Let us fight obesity!"
Also, in May 1939, while the CPB office was still in Santo André, State of São Paulo, the review explained the nutritional and even medicinal value of fruits.
At that time we did not know about flavonoids, phytochemicals, anthocyanins, and antioxidants. It was known that grapes were good for health. However, resveratrol was still undiscovered. This is the component that fights free radicals, making fruit nutraceutical to work both as a nutritious food and medicine, especially for the heart. Another nutraceutical can be found in tomatoes and watermelon, rich in lycopene, which prevents prostate cancer.4
Physical exercise was featured early on in the pages of Life and Health review. Long before gyms became a common part of the urban scene, the November 1939 edition featured a report entitled: “Exercises for people of a sedentary lifestyle.” The author of the text stated that “the sedentary person ages rapidly due to lack of exercise. The first signs of old age are flaccid muscles, bulging stomach and excessive weight.” Page 6 of that issue also declared: "the heart is only strengthened when we use body muscles,” illustrated with various workout exercises for getting in shape.5
Thus, mental and physical health care is the backbone of each edition of Life and Health review. Yet another fundamental component of the publication is spiritual health.
Contrary to the stigma of the faith and science 'dichotomy', Life and Health review has always had as one of its greatest motivations for producing scientifically disseminated content the belief that the human being is the masterpiece of God's creation. Rooted in Seventh-day Adventist Church history, the review first appeared, not for commercial reasons, but for missionary convictions. ‘The circulation of health reviews will be a powerful agent in preparing people to accept those special truths that are to fit them for the soon coming of the Son of man,’ wrote Ellen White.6
In 1985, the Brazilian Publishing House was transferred to Tatuí, State of São Paulo countryside. During this new phase of CPB history, Life and Health continued to be printed in four colors, as it had been for five years.
In January 2015, the review experienced a graphic renewal, featuring editorial updates, such as sections on pediatrics, sexuality, the human body, and healthy beauty. In addition, the cooking section became more educational with tips from a chef, while the review as a whole got closer to the reader through its presence on social media and the creation of the website: www.revistavidaesaude.com.br. According to current editor, Michelson Borges, "When I was put in charge of the review in 2015, the big challenge was to make an already great product with a rich tradition in Brazil even better. I believe that Life and Health review even plays an eschatological role as it helps to prepare people to better understand God's plan for their lives so that they are ready for Jesus' return, and this preparation involves health reform.”
Today, Life and Health review has a print run of 60,000 copies a month and is sold by hundreds of full-time canvassers and students across Brazil. The challenge is to live in a digital world, continuing to offer solid, well-founded, interesting, and relevant content to retain current readers and acquire new ones.
Titles: Saúde e Vida [Health and Life] (1914-1914); Vida e Saúde [Life and Health] (1939-today).
Editors: António A. de Miranda (1939-1941); Raphael de Azambuja Butler (1943-1947); António A. de Miranda (1949-1950); Octávio Espírito Santo (1950-1954); Raphael de Azambuja Butler (1954-1968); Naor G. Conrado (1970-1975); Carlos A. Trezza (1976-1977); Almir A. Fonseca (1977-1986); Rubem M. Scheffel (1987-1989); Márcio Dias Guarda/ Paulo Roberto Moura Pinheiro/ Wilson de Almeida (1989); Márcio Dias Guarda (1989-1994); Paulo Roberto Moura Pinheiro (1994-1996); Marcos Carvalho De Benedicto (1997); Zinaldo Santos (1997-2003); Francisco Carlos Lima Lemos (2003-2014); Michelson Borges (2015-today).
Deininger, Rute, “Exercícios para pessoas de vida sedentária” [Exercises for people of sedentary lifestyle]. Life and Health, November, 1939.
Lemos, Agatha D. “Longevidade saudável na Mídia: entre a medicalização e a promoção da saúde” [Healthy longevity on Media: between medicalization and health promotion], Master’s Dissertation, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, 2015.
Lemos, Francisco C. L. “Influencia de la revista Vida e Saúde en el estilo de vida de los lectores de la región 15 del Servicio Educacional Hogar y Salud, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, año 2010” [The influence of Life and Health review on the lifestyle of the readers of the 15 regions of the Home Health Education Service, São José do Rio Preto, year 2010], Master’s Dissertation, Peruvian Union University, 2012.
Lemos, Francisco. “Vai longe” [Living to a ripe old age], Life and Health, July 2013.
Marília Scalzo, Jornalismo de Revista [Magazine Journalism]. São Paulo: Editora Contexto [Context Publisher], 2003.
Francisco C. L. Lemos, “Influencia de la revista Vida e Saúde en el estilo de vida de los lectores de la región 15 del Servicio Educacional Hogar y Salud, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, año 2010” [The influence of Life and Health review on the lifestyle of the readers of the 15 regions of the Home Health Education Service, São José do Rio Preto, year 2010], (Master’s Dissertation, Peruvian Union University, 2012), 162.↩
Marília Scalzo, Jornalismo de Revista [Magazine Journalism] (São Paulo: Editora Contexto [Context Publisher], 2003); apud Francisco C. L. Lemos, 162.↩
Zinaldo A. Santos, interviewed by the journalist Michelson Borges (Tatuí), January 20, 2018.↩
Francisco Lemos, “Vai longe” [Living to a ripe old age], (July, 2013): 4.↩
Rute Deininger, “Exercícios para pessoas de vida sedentária” [Exercises for people of sedentary lifestyle], Life and Health (November, 1939): 6.↩
Agatha. D. Lemos, “Longevidade saudável na Mídia: entre a medicalização e a promoção da saúde” [Healthy longevity on Media: between medicalization and health promotion], (Master’s Dissertation, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, 2015), 92. Quotation from Ellen White: ARH, November 12, 1901, par. 21.↩