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Exploring the association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reducing chronic diseases: a critical literature synthesis

Donsky, Arthur (2017) Exploring the association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reducing chronic diseases: a critical literature synthesis. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Nearly 70% of the population of the United States is at increased risk for chronic illness because of dietary related health conditions. Half of all adults, 117 million people, have one or more preventable diet associated chronic diseases. The current state of the nation’s health is a serious public health concern as 1.5 million Americans die annually due to conditions related to dietary intake. The risks for chronic disease, such as obesity, are greater for segments of the population unable to afford healthier, nutritionally-dense food, especially low populations with low socioeconomic status and communities of color. This has created serious and significant health inequities.
In the United States, healthcare spending accounts for more than 17% of the US economy. Chronic diseases, related conditions, and the health risk behaviors that cause them now account for most health care costs making these diseases a significant public health concern. Eighty-six percent of all health care spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions.
A literature search was conducted in SCOPUS and PubMed to address the following re-search question: Is there an association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reduced rates of chronic diseases? This thesis examines the effects of eating a WFPB diet on the risk of chronic diseases and the prevention and mitigation of chronic diseases after diagnosis.
Increasing the dietary intake of whole plant-based diet may help to prevent, reduce or even reverse certain chronic illnesses in the population. A diet consisting largely of unprocessed or primarily unprocessed healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and beans might enable the US population to address the hyper-endemic level of chronic illnesses that have resulted from more than 40 years of eating the Western or Standard American Diet (SAD).
These results have public health significance because they may help future researchers, public health and medical professionals, and policymakers as they look toward addressing and reducing the level of diet-related illnesses among the population, especially those who regularly experience health inequities.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Donsky, Arthurard80@pitt.eduard80
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorHawk, Marymary.hawk@pitt.edumary.hawk
Committee MemberFelter, Elizabethemfelter@pitt.eduemfelter
Committee MemberSoska, Tracytsssw@pitt.edutsssw
Committee MemberSchake,
Date: 30 August 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 June 2017
Approval Date: 30 August 2017
Submission Date: 2 June 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chronic Diseases, Obesity, Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet, Standard American Diet, Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Vegan Diet
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 21:38
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2017 21:38


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