New York City to train doctors in nutrition and lifestyle medicine

A big step forward in the use of plant-based diets in medicine has just taken place in New York. Through a partnership between local government and a mainstream medical nonprofit, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, free introductory training in nutrition and other aspects of lifestyle will be offered to doctors and other healthcare professionals throughout the city.

The initial phase will include practitioners at 20 hospitals and health systems that serve millions of New Yorkers. The new training will be offered up to 200,000 doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and other health care professionals in New York City and is the largest lifestyle medicine training rollout in the world. Training in nutrition is no small thing when one considers that according to the American Medical Association, diet is the number one risk for disease in America.

New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has had his own health improved with a plant-based diet.  “A plant-based diet restored my eyesight, put my Type 2 diabetes into remission, and helped save my life… 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,” he says. He already was able to change the food served at New York City hospitals to be plant-based by default.

Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses evidence-based, therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. Clinicians certified in lifestyle medicine are trained to apply evidence-based, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, in some cases, achieve remission of certain common chronic conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine — a healthful plant based diet, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections — also provides effective prevention for many common chronic conditions.

Here at Vegetarians of Washington, we have been advocating for doctors to be trained in the use of a plant-based diet to treat and prevent disease, for many years. We’ve had over 30 articles published in medical journals, all of which are available on our website, Plant-Based Diets in Medicine. We’ve published the first 25 articles in a well-received book, The Prevention and Treatment of Disease with a Plant-Based Diet. Let’s hope that the idea of training medical professionals in the use of plant-based diets in medicine spreads and the resources we’ve put together prove useful.