American College of Lifestyle Medicine Applauds NAACP on its Recent Passage of a Resolution Prioritizing Plant-Based Meals for Schools, Hospitals and Prisons

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The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today applauded a resolution ratified recently by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to prioritize as a 2020 legislative priority its advocacy for mandatory plant-based meals in prisons and options for plant-based meals in K-12 schools and hospitals. The resolution included an implementation deadline of Fall 2021.

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"This is a major step forward to improve the health of specific populations most at-risk for chronic disease."

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) today applauded a resolution ratified by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at its October 2019 Board of Directors Meeting to prioritize advocacy for mandatory plant-based meals in prisons and options for plant-based meals in K-12 schools and hospitals.

The resolution noted the focus be consistent with the data-driven research regarding the health outcomes provided by plant-based meals and consistent with California legislation which passed a mandatory plant-based meal option for K- 12 schools and hospitals and mandated 100% plant-based meals in prisons to reduce the current recidivism rates.

“This is a major step forward to improve the health of specific populations most at-risk for chronic disease development caused by lifestyle choices,” said ACLM Preside Dexter Shurney, MD, MBA, MPH, FACLM, DipABLM. “For minority populations most susceptible to chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, we believe this will make a real difference in closing health equity gaps, as research shows that this recommended dietary lifestyle is efficacious where prevention is concerned, as well as treatment of already existing disease.”

The resolution also gave an implantation deadline that by the Fall 2021 school year, all K-12 schools, prisons and hospitals “will implement the plant-based meal options or 100% plant-based meal program and that the K-12 meal options shall include whole meal options and not just side-dish options for children, said meal plans shall include a high concentration of whole fruits and vegetables as grown.”

Finally, the resolution stated that “all institutions shall provide plant-based meal education and/or demonstrations or tasters to identify the most tasteful and culturally relevant plant-based alternatives and recipes that replace animal products to ensure consumption by students, inmates and patients.”

"We have already started to see signs of prevention-oriented policy with legislation in California requiring plant-based options in state-operated facilities and New York requiring plant-based options in hospitals,” said Marsha-Gail Davis, MD, co-chair of ACLM’s Community Engaged-Health Disparities Member Interest Group. “This decision on the part of the NAACP is a clear sign that the data supporting plant-based nutrition in the prevention of disease and the support of health and well-being is reaching policymakers who have the ability to make the greatest impact. As eloquently discussed in a new book by Dr. Anand Parekh, Prevention First, it is time to put prevention at the forefront of our health-related policies."

“The decision by the NAACP to promote delicious, culturally relevant plant-based meals is exciting and wonderful news,” said Theresa Stone, MD, ACLM Board member and co-chair of ACLM’s Community Engaged-Health Disparities Member Interest Group. “Since this historical organization’s founding in 1909, the NAACP has been committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all persons. This strong effort will allow at-risk communities to embody life- enhancing behaviors that increase executive function, and reverse and prevent common chronic illnesses. The initiative comes at a great time given that 2019 Gallup polls revealed that populations of color reported eating 31 percent less meat in the past 12 months. The decrease in eating meat is 10 percent in non-blacks. Data from Gallup also show that Americans who earn less than $30,000 annually are almost twice as likely to have a plant-based dietary lifestyle as those who earn more than $75,000. We at ACLM are enthusiastic to follow the upcoming data from this resolution.”

ABOUT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE: ACLM is the medical professional association for those dedicated to the advancement and clinical practice of Lifestyle Medicine as the foundation of a transformed and sustainable health care system. Lifestyle Medicine involves the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as the primary therapeutic modality to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse the lifestyle-related, chronic disease that's all too prevalent. ACLM addresses the need for quality education and certification. It supports its members in their individual practices and collective desire to domestically and globally promote Lifestyle Medicine as the first treatment option, as opposed to a first option of treating symptoms and consequences with expensive, ever-increasing quantities of pills and procedures. Join today at http://www.LifestyleMedicine.org.

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