The New York State Senate recently passed a bill that would guarantee hospital patients a plant-based vegan option at every meal. As a result, plant-based meals and snacks will now need to be made available to all patients and be clearly marked on all menus.
The initiative was described as “an important step that could soon help hospital patients across the state understand the power of a plant-based diet to fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” by Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The PRCM is a non-profit organisation that promotes preventative medicine.
Bill S1471 was introduced by Senator Brad Holman and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and easily passed, as reported by VegNews .
This follows on from an initiative from the American Medical Association in 2017 which called for all hospitals in the USA to provide plant-based meals to help the health of patients as well as staff and visitors.
In 2018 a clinic at New York’s Bellevue Hospital began a new medical programme prescribing whole food and plant-based diets to treat patients suffering from various chronic illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. According to the PCRM, these two diseases alone account for about 40 per cent of deaths in the state of New York.
Initiatives such as the city’s eleven public hospitals introducing Meatless Mondays are helping drive healthy dietary choices in New York.
There is an international vegan trend and public clamour for public bodies to be required to provide plant-based options. Recently schemes are being introduced to ensure that schools in Scotland and Ireland serve vegan options.