Physicians Committee Joins Kickstart Your Health for New Campaign

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- We've heard it before, pile more vegetables and fruits on your plate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 91 percent of New York adults fall short of consuming at least two servings of vegetables each day. One in three adults now has prediabetes.

"One of our biggest messages is to show how easy it is to put fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains on the center of your plate," said Registered Dietitian, Maggie Neola.

The Kickstart Your Health program will launch May 1. It's a 21-day plant-based nutrition challenge. It was created by the nonprofit Physicians Committee and supported by Mayor Lovely Warren. A proclamation was issued by City Hall Monday morning encouraging everyone to improve their health.

The campaign is spreading the message through the use of several billboards scattered across the city. Local physicians are featured in the billboards pushing a new prescription: plants over pills and beets over a bypass.

"In traditional medical practice, we don't emphasize diet over pills," said Dr. Ted Barnett, founder of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine. "So when you think about these foods that have the power to heal and reverse chronic diseases, that's what we really want to get across, we can change our cellular levels based on what we eat."

Dr. Barnett says 40 percent of children in Monroe County born after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that can lead to a host of other medical problems.

"It's almost like we're on a ship now heading for an iceberg and we can see the iceberg and no one is turning the ship," Dr. Barnett said.

Dr. Barnett says change doesn't happen overnight, but change can begin today, starting with the right foods.

"Individuals can take power over their own lives and say ok, I'm done,  I'm not gonna have diabetes," Dr. Barnett said. "I"m just gonna change what I eat and the plant based prescription is really what that change is all about."

The Physicians Committee is exploring opportunities to have other cities get on board with the Kickstart Your Health project. 

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