A vegetarian diet is “a solution to our public health crisis,” according to the World Preservation Foundation (WPF), which says 75% of common chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease could be eliminated if people turned to a plant-based diet. The WPF presented its report to the UK Government, but the policies it sets forth are for all the world.
A vegetarian diet saves lives and money
The report is the work of several prestigious physicians, including Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, director of the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Esselstyn explained that the world is “on the cusp of what could be a seismic revolution in health” that “will come about when we are able to show the public the lifestyle that will halt and eliminate 75% of these common, chronic killing diseases.”
The main component of the lifestyle he refers to is “whole food plant-based nutrition,” or a vegetarian diet. Another contributor to the report, Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, added that “not only can healthier choices tackle the obesity epidemic; they also help us reverse heart disease, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of other major health problems.”
It has already been established that heart disease is mainly a diet-caused illness, as are obesity and type II diabetes. The American Institute for Cancer Research has noted that about one-third of the most common cancers could be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.
According to the World Health Organization, noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are the leading cause of death in the world. Modifiable risk factors underlie these diseases, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, and high blood sugar—all factors that can be corrected by following a vegetarian diet.
The WPF presented their report to the UK Government with the hope that it would take the lead in the world and promote and implement plant-based policies and programs. It is urging the Government to initiate nationwide incentives and programs to create a definitive move toward plant-based eating.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, director of research for Nutritional Research Project for the National Health Association, also contributed to the report, noting that “the cure for type II diabetes is already known—removing the cause can reverse the disease, and the chief cause is excess weight from Western diet and inactivity.” In the UK alone, more than 60% of the population is overweight or obese, while in the United States the number is 68%.
According to Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, WPF executive director, “people can make an informed choice when they know the full facts and that needless suffering and loss of loved ones can be avoided to a large extent” by turning to a vegetarian diet.
Switching to a vegetarian diet would be a dramatic change for many people, especially in the Western world, but it is a switch that could reap tremendous rewards. Not only would adopting a plant-based diet save lives, it would also have a tremendous impact on healthcare costs and a favorable impact on the environment as well.
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