New York City is launching a $44 million plant-based nutrition program for healthcare professionals to provide the proper guidance to help patients and other Americans improve their diets. The plant-based nutrition program emerges in a deal between NYC mayor Eric Adams and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and will be devoted to proving resources to medical professionals to understand better how lifestyle medicine and diet can help treat several health conditions.

The program will initially launch at 20 hospitals, training nearly 200,000 doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and various other healthcare professionals with the help of the ACLM investment package.

Mayor Adams supports this program after lifestyle changes helped him combat the negative symptoms of his diabetes. He revealed that adopting his mostly plant-based diet helped curb his symptoms and live healthier in recent years.

“A plant-based diet restored my eyesight, put my type 2 diabetes into remission, and helped save my life,” Adams said in a statement. “Our administration has invested in expanding lifestyle medicine programming and plant-based meals at NYC Health + Hospitals, and now, we’re bringing this evidence-based model to all of New York City’s health care workforce.

“Once again, we’re setting the standard for the rest of the nation, giving practitioners new tools to combat chronic disease and health disparities, and investing in a healthier city for generations to come.”

Improving Plant-Based Education for Medical Professionals

The program will apply the six pilar of lifestyle medicine to its medical training. The tenets include a healthful plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections.

The training will include nearly six hours of online coursework that includes three classes: "Food as Medicine: Nutrition for Prevention and Longevity," “Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine," and "Food as Medicine: Nutrition for Treatment and Risk Reduction." The program intends to provide tools for medical professionals that will help patients relieve some symptoms with simple lifestyle and dietary changes.

This nutrition-based program uses research-backed, therapeutic lifestyle interventions to help minimize the symptoms of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The lifestyle medicine professionals will help improve the NYC healthcare system's general understanding of how lifestyle changes such as diet can help relieve the symptoms of their patients.

“Treating the root cause of chronic disease in this country, and especially lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities, will positively change the trajectory of both quality of life and health costs,” Cate Collings, MD, past president of ACLM, said in a statement. “We applaud Mayor Adams and all the health care leaders in the city for recognizing what an impact they can make through this initiative.”

Combatting Chronic Disease With Plant-Based Foods

About 60 percent of American adults have already been diagnosed with at least one chronic disease, according to the CDC. Approximately 40 percent suffer from two or more chronic diseases, however, research has pointed to plant-based diets as a simple solution for both minimizing symptoms and reducing the risk of developing new issues. Eating a mostly plant-based diet starting earlier in life can help prolong life expectancy by over 10 years, cutting the risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and more.

Another study found that eating plant protein over meat and dairy improves gut health and well-being. The study noted that plant-based protein lowered the general risk of disease, boosting the immune system and keeping the body healthier. Now, the NYC initiative will help provide guidance for patients to bolster their immune systems against chronic ailments.

Mayor Eric Adams Puts Plant-Based First

Since winning his mayoral race, Adams has prioritized plant-based health for New York City residents. One-in-four children across the five boroughs are facing food insecurity and Adams aims to increase accessibility to healthy foods across the entire city. This February, Adams launched the "Vegan Fridays" project. The plant-based meal program provides vegan meals to every NYC public school system student with healthy, plant-based meals every Friday.

Shortly after, New York City announced the first-ever chef's council –– an initiative devoted to providing freshly cooked, plant-based, and culturally relevant recipes for the city's school systems. The program is led by celebrity chef Rachel Ray, who will organize and train chefs to provide students citywide with nutritional and sustainable meals.

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