A new community-based health initiative has been formed to fight New Zealand’s rising tide of lifestyle illnesses.

Evidenced Based Eating New Zealand (EBE NZ) has committed itself to raising public awareness on the value of whole food plant-based eating.

“Our primary aim is to educate and inspire the general public, health professionals, private organisations and government institutions using evidence-based research,” says Auckland based GP, Dr Mark Craig.

Over the long term, he says the group’s mission is to make whole food plant-based (WFPB) nutrition commonly recognised and understood by all New Zealanders as the primary illness preventive treatment for optimal health and wellbeing.

EBE NZ evolved from two Gisborne based conferences featuring the benefits achieved by dietary changes in a small population study.

The Broad Study, which was completed nearly three years ago, confirmed the outcomes of several overseas investigations into the value of whole food plant-based eating and its reductive effects on high blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, diabetes and sustainable weight loss.

Documentary film maker Grant Dixon, who is also a member of the group, says thousands of New Zealanders could be saved from death and serious disability if the health officials they dealt with made them aware of what can be achieved on a whole food plant-based diet.

As a former heart attack victim himself, Dixon says he would never have needed to cost the health system such a significant sum had he been better informed by the health professionals he dealt with at the time.

“And on top of that, let’s not forget all the upset it put my wife and family through.”

Dixon produced his own documentary (The Big FAT Lie) on the experience which is now being sold for international distribution.

Dr Martyn Williamson of Alexandra welcomes the establishment of EBE NZ because he sees special value in the creation of a community-based group involving both professional and lay people.

“Through a group like this I believe physicians like myself and many other health professionals will find better ways to explain things that we all should know but seem to have lost sight of.”

In a wider sense EBE NZ sees its advocacy for a whole food plant-based diet as a way of being sustainable for the environment and preventative of global warming.

It will also be promoting the inclusion of evidenced based information on WFPB nutrition into the education and training of all New Zealand health practitioners.

The group seeks to develop commonly understood guidelines for lifestyle change which can significantly improve the course of chronic diseases such as: heart disease, hypertension, Type 1 & 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory arthritis and is preventative of Osteoporosis, breast, prostate and bowel cancers.

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