November 5, 2017:    Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post published a healthy living article praising the territory’s two Adventist hospitals for serving vegetarian food. The region’s newspaper of record suggested that public hospitals in Hong Kong also begin serving plant based cuisine.

The Post said that the two private Adventist hospitals in the Happy Valley and Tsuen Wan areas of Hong Kong are the only ones in the territory that provide exclusively vegetarian meals. This practice was portrayed as part of Adventist healthy living practices.

“We believe that plant-based foods are good sources for healing the body, mind and soul,” said Wong Chi-wing, the registered dietitian at the Adventist Happy Valley hospital. “A balanced vegetarian diet can provide good nutrients and at the same time provide some extra benefits such as phytochemicals and antioxidants, which can have a surprising positive effect on [recovering] patients.”

The Post article pointed out that vegetarian eating, especially in hospitals, is a growing global trend. It said that in June, the American Medical Association adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to provide a healthy variety of food, including plant based food, into meals served to both patients and personnel.

The Post article highlighted a video news release from Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Barnard said that “plant-based foods have to be offered to every patient… get rid of the bacon, the sausage, the hot dogs, all the processed meats that have been shown to cause cancer.”

The article critiques the reticence of other Hong Kong hospitals to embrace plant-based food. Quality and availability of such food is said to be “underwhelming.”

“The HA has vegetarian options, but not too many. There aren’t many vegetarian inpatients. I think they can work to develop more options,” said Carmen Lo, a dietitian with Asia Medical Specialists, describing the offerings from Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority which manages 42 public hospitals.

Happy Valley’s Wong stressed that for there to be more plant-based options, more input from dietitians is needed and better education of the public about the benefits of healthy vegetarian food should take place.

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