National Conference Promotes Plant-based Nutrition to Prevent Disease  


Recognized experts in medicine, nutrition and behavior change gather to share evidence on best practices to prevent disease May 18 to 20, 2017 at the 4th annual national Plant-based Prevention Of Disease (P-POD) conference at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 86% of U.S. health care expenditures are attributed to chronic disease, 7 of the 10 leading causes of death are chronic diseases, and half of American adults suffer from at least one.  Yet, many of these diseases are preventable through dietary and lifestyle changes, which could save millions of lives and billions of dollars, and improve quality of life immeasurably.  Plant-based whole foods have long been associated with improved biomarkers of health, and those following vegetarian diets show lower rates of nearly every chronic disease.

Healthcare providers can be on the forefront of saving lives by promoting dietary changes, yet many are unfamiliar with the substantial scientific data on disease prevention, and untrained in behavior change methods.  The P-POD conference, a nonprofit without commercial funding, brings together 33 distinguished speakers to discuss nutritional research and action against disease, via lectures and round tables.

A new 2017 conference collaborator is the Navajo Nation, apparently the first governmental entity in the U.S. to implement a sales tax on “junk” food, while eliminating taxes on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and water.  Its 2015 proclamation recognizing National Diabetes Awareness Month included recommendations that the Diné (Navajo) people “eat more plant-based meals”, and Vice President Jonathan Nez is following up by offering opening remarks at P-POD 2017, after hosting and leading (with ultra-running champion Scott Jurek) a pre-conference 5K run.

P-POD 2017 also commemorates the 25th anniversary of major nonprofit co-sponsor Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) launching the “New 4 Food Groups” (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes) as the foundation of diets that reduce our population’s risk of preventable diseases.  PCRM’s Neal Barnard, MD was joined in this 1992 announcement by Denis Burkitt, MD and T. Colin Campbell, PhD.  Dr. Burkitt, then in his final year of life, had made ground-breaking research discoveries that fiber, the most distinct marker for plant-derived whole foods, was associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases such as colon cancer.  Shortly before this, the New York Times had proclaimed the striking first results from Dr. Campbell’s “China study” research, initiating worldwide recognition and renown.  In celebration of all this, 2017’s keynote address, named the First Annual Denis Burkitt Memorial Lecture, will be delivered by Dr. Campbell, who also founded nonprofit co-sponsor T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.  Some of the other presenters:  Brenda Davis, RDMilton Mills, MDLois Ellen Frank, PhDMichael Klaper, MDCaroline Trapp, DNP.

Up to 17.5 hours of continuing education credits are offered to diverse professionals such as physicians, dietitians and nurses.  P-POD is committed to affordable registration costs.  The public is welcome and sizable student discounts are available.

P-POD’s 2017 Theme is:  “Evidence-Based Nutrition for the Entire Health Care Team….Reclaiming Simple Traditional Plant-based Foods in the Prevention / Treatment of Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases.”  Additional nonprofit co-sponsors and collaborators include Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, University of New Mexico Section of Integrative Medicine and Center for Life, New Mexico Nurses Association, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine, Institute of American Indian Arts, and Asian Indians in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Online registration continues until just before the conference dates, when walk-in attendance is possible.  For information / registration, visit or, or email


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