New Zealanders have been saddened by the news that a young southland farmer will soon die from the effects of bowel cancer, leaving behind a wife and two teenage daughters.

Blair Vining, his family and supporters have been successful in gathering more than 130,000 signatures for a petition to establish a national cancer agency. Blair’s goal is to prevent hundreds of cancer deaths each year.

Evidence Based Eating New Zealand (EBE NZ), a community-based health group, fully supports Blair’s desire, particularly his call for cancer prevention work.

EBE NZ says the quickest way to significantly cut New Zealand’s escalating rise in bowel cancer numbers is to make people aware of the major benefits in risk reduction from the adoption of a Whole Food Plant-Based diet and encourage Kiwis to consider significantly reducing and or removing all animal products from their diet.

While the organisation recognises this may be an unpalatable solution for many, group member Dr Martyn Williamson of Alexandra says, “the crux of our increasing cancer problem, and of many other health issues we’re now facing, squarely rests in our over consumption of animal protein and lack of fibre in our diets from under consumption of whole plant foods.”

Over the past 30 years NZ bowel cancer deaths have increased by a quarter, with no sign of reduction in sight.

And interestingly, World Health Organisation research clearly shows that the removal of animal products and corresponding increased consumption of fruit and vegetables will result in huge health benefits, not only in preventing many cancers but also preventing and reversing many inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more.

It is now time for the Ministry of Health and medical training institutions to take this message seriously and make it fundamental to all public health education.

“While some people may not choose to change, we deny them a chance of doing so if they remain uninformed of the major role nutritional choice plays in their health,” Dr Williamson says.

New Zealand can’t afford to fund the escalating health costs, particularly with nearly all of our district health boards now running into annual deficits.

EBE NZ believes it is time for our health authorities to come clean with Kiwis and tell them the truth – that many of our modern diseases can be and will be, prevented, delayed or even reversed by a fundamental change in what they choose to eat.


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