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2-28-13 Breakthroughs in plant-based diet research in forefront of congress
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The 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition at Loma Linda University
By Herbert Atienza

 
 
More than 800 delegates attended the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held Feb. 24-26 at Loma Linda University Health.
 
 
Loma Linda was the epicenter of all major scientific-based research on plant-based diets and nutrition this week, as more than 800 of the world’s leading scientists, researchers, and advocates gathered for the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition (6ICVN), hosted by Loma Linda University Health.
 
6ICVN, organized by Loma Linda University School of Public Health, is an event that happens only every five years and is the premier gathering of the world’s experts in plant-based nutrition and health.

At this year’s gathering, held Feb. 24-26 at Loma Linda University Drayson Center, delegates dove in to dozens of seminars, workshops and presentations exploring such topics as the link between diet and longevity, how plant-based diets can help prevent and treat major chronic diseases, and the sustainability of plant-based diet lifestyles.
 
“I have been attending the Vegetarian Congress since the fourth one because I’m a vegetarian and there are many new things that I learn,” says delegate Hiroshi Yamaji, 52, of Tokyo, who is the director of health ministries for the Japan Union Conference.
 

 
Dr. Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health, welcomes more than 800 delegates to the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held Feb. 24-26 at Loma Linda University Health. Next to him is Dr. Joan Sabate (center) 6ICVN chair and chairman of the department of nutrition at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and Dr. David R. Jacobs, Mayo professor, division of epidemiology, University of Minnesota.
“I feel very blessed by the lifestyle I have,” he continues. “I have been a practicing vegetarian since I was born and I see the benefits in it. I am glad there is now strong scientific support for it.”
 
Delegates received a rousing welcome from Loma Linda University Health officials at the start of the events. “It’s a real privilege for Loma Linda to be identified with this congress, which is the premier international conference for research in plant-based diets,” says Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University Health, during his welcome. “Loma Linda has pioneered efforts that now allow us to gather here. Vegetarianism is no longer an Adventist thing or a novelty. It has become a science-based way of life for many people.”
 
Joan Sabate, MD, PhD, 6ICVN chair and chair of the nutrition department at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, noted that the event has been growing each time, and this year’s attendance easily surpassed the expected 700 delegates. “The interest from both the Adventist community and the scientific community is increasing,” he said.
 
“Vegetarian nutrition is one of the stalwart research themes of our school,” says Tricia Penniecook, MD, MPH, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. “During the congress, scientists, practitioners, academicians, students, and members of the community at large learned more about how a vegetarian lifestyle can be taught and implemented in practical ways.”

 
 
Tony Yang (standing) assistant vice president for public affairs, Loma Linda University Health, welcomes attendees to the press conference, held in conjunction with the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, to announce the findings of a new landmark study. Sitting on the panel (from left to right): Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez, lead investigator for the PREDIMED study and professor at University of Navarra, Spain; Dr. Joan Sabate, 6ICVN chair and chair of the department of nutrition at Loma Linda University School of Public Health; and Dr. Sam Soret, associate dean for public health practice at Loma Linda University School of Public Health.  
The congress also provided the venue for announcing major research findings, including the first public presentation of an international-headline-making landmark study by Spanish researchers that made a head-to-head comparison and determined that plant-based Mediterranean diets are better at reducing heart disease risks than a low-fat diet.
 
Miguel Angel Martinez, MD, MPH, PhD, lead investigator of the study called “PREDIMED,” for “PREvencion con Dieta MEDiterranea,” says 6ICVN was a good place to unveil his study’s findings because they stand on groundbreaking research conducted at Loma Linda University, such as the landmark Adventist Health Study and a study on walnuts and heart disease.
 
“It is a good opportunity to celebrate the findings from these studies from two decades ago, it’s like closing the loop,” he says. “Our findings are very supportive of the research of those pioneering studies at Loma Linda.”

For more information about the congress, go to http://vegetariannutrition.org. Twitter feed @ Loma_Linda_U.









 
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