NYC hospital using vegan diets to help people with chronic health problems

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new style of treatment is being utilized at the nation's oldest hospital.

Vegan meals are being designed by Bellevue Hospital to help people living with chronic health problems.

Madeline Chang is hoping to get her cholesterol under control and avoid becoming diabetic.

"I love food so much, I've always struggled with overeating," she said.

So she's turning to Bellevue Hospital's new plant-based life style program headed up by Dr. Michelle McMacken.

"It actually comes down to diet, diet really features extremely prominently," Dr. McMacken said. "And of all different kinds of diets, a plant-based diet is an extraordinarily effective approach, honestly it's a transformative approach."

While the actual vegan food won't be provided, the doctors, nurses, dieticians and coaches will be.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams turned vegan to stave off diabetes, and he helped get the city to put $400,000 into this pilot program.

"We are introducing in a real way, in the oldest hospital in America, a concept that is called disease reversal," said Adams.

The program is accessible to any New York City resident regardles of ability to pay or insurance status. A referral is not needed but the patient does need to meet certain criteria.

"We are accepting any patient who has a history of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol or issues with body weight, overweight or obesity," said Dr. McMacken.

The program hopes to help 100 patients beginning in January.

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