With all the attention lately focused on health-care reform, the most effective thing that can be done to help cut health-care costs is to promote preventiv medicine. Several studies have shown the benefits of low-fat, plant-based diets: Vegetarians have fewer hospital stays than non-vegetarians; they also use less medicine. Comhined with other lifestyle factors, such diets have been shown to reverse arteriosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries that is the main contributor to heart disease and strokes. There is even evidence that plant-hased diets are protective against several common forms of cancer, including colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
Unfortunately, many people do not know where to start. The Physicians Committee for Responslble Medicine aims to help. In April 1991, PCRM proposed the New Four Food Groups — whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruit — an eating plan that makes it easy for people to make the change to a healthful diet. Since then, PCRM has developed a number of materials to help people clean up their eating habits.
PCRM publishes a quarterly magazine, Good Medicine, which is full of information about nutrition, the latest on research, and interviews with ground-breaking researchers like Randall Laufer, Ph.D., and Linus Pauling, M.D. We have also produced a “Vegetarian Starter Kit” — a handy guidebook, complete with recipes and a calcium chart, that debunks many of the myths about vegetarianism and offers a wealth of nutrition information. For schools, PCRM will he piloting this fall “The Right Bite, ” a junior-high level nutrition course so students can get a head start on healthy eating. We also have “The Gold Plan,” an institutional recipe program so that school, hospital, and office cafeterias can include healthful foods. “For for Life” (Harmony Books, 1993), a new book by PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D., which lays out the medical case for the New Four Food Groups, is also now available in bookstores everywhere.
PCRM believes strongly preventing disease is the key to health-care retorm. We hope these materials help people to do just that. T. Carter Ross Staff writer Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Washington, D.C.