Sydney, Australia | Bettina Krause

Evidence presented at the inaugural Sanitarium International Nutrition Symposium confirms that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains can significantly reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease.

Keynote speaker at the mid-March conference, Professor Jim Mann, Head of the Department of Nutrition, University of Otago, New Zealand, reported that vegetarians who get regular exercise have lower body fat levels and are “24 percent less likely to die of ischaemic heart disease than their meat-eating counterparts.”

A poll conducted in the lead-up to the conference indicates that vegetarianism is on the rise in Australia, with 46 percent of all adult respondents reporting that they ate more vegetarian meals per week than they did two years ago.

Established in 1897, Sanitarium Health Food Company is a Seventh-day Adventist-affiliated company that controls a major share of Australia’s breakfast cereal market. Sanitarium sponsored the conference as part of its ongoing efforts to educate the Australian public about the health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.