Brooklyn Boro

Adams, long advocate for vegan diets, gets a ‘win’ at city hospitals

Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, the president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. Photo: NYChealthandhospitals.org

September 28, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Health and Hospitals CEO Dr. Mitchell H. Katz announced that plant-based meals are now the primary options at H+H/Lincoln, Metropolitan and Woodhull hospitals. The dinner program expanded upon hospitals’ existing plant-based lunch program initiated in March of this year. 

“Food is medicine, especially in our moments of sickness. Nutritious, healthy food should be available wherever New Yorkers are, but especially in institutions that are meant to restore health,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. 

“It starts with us, and we must lead by example, so this is an important step forward. Congratulations to Health + Hospitals for making nutritious and delicious plant-based foods the default option for patients who are there to heal and to return to health.”

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The plant-based meal program in the health care system now boasts an assuring 95 percent success rate. Plant-based meals derived from the flavors of Latin, Asian and other world gastronomies are served throughout patients’ stay and are encouraged as healthy options during the process of healing and recovery. 

Plant-based nutrition is a cuisine and method of cooking and eating that emphasizes – but is not limited to – fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, plant oils, and herbs and spices. The diet reflects evidence-based principles of health and sustainability.

Scientific research has shown that plant-based eating patterns are linked to significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. They can also be effective for weight management, as well as treatment of certain chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.

“When it comes to preventing diet-related chronic disease, there is a growing recognition that it’s not our DNA — it’s our dinner,” said Adams. 

“Since January, we have introduced Plant-Powered Fridays into schools, introduced fresh produce into the nation’s only municipal emergency food system, and expanded Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Clinics to public hospitals across all five boroughs. Now, we are proud to announce the successful rollout and expansion of default plant-based lunch and dinner options at all H+H sites. This transformative program is already changing lives, empowering patients to take control of their own health and further cementing New York City as a leader in preventive medicine.”

H+H plans to offer plant-based dinner options at all hospitals this Fall, and by the end of this year, plans to offer plant-based supplements and tube feeds. The system plans to introduce the plant-based menu options to post-acute care facilities by January.

“As a primary care physician, I speak with all of my patients about the importance of a healthy diet and how it can help fend off or treat chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Our new meal program is rooted in evidence for health benefits and environmental sustainability and expands on the success of our Meatless Mondays Program.”


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