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  2. Mar 25, 2024

Food for Life Classes Reach Record 17,263 Participants Worldwide in 2023

Last year, 403 instructors in 23 countries taught 1,686 classes about the lifesaving power of a plant-based diet to 17,263 participants, which was a 36% increase in participants from 2022. The program also had a 26% increase in reach to people of color, many of whom are disproportionately impacted by health disparities.

Food for Life, which began with a single cancer prevention class 23 years ago, now includes 18 courses demonstrating how a plant-based diet can help fight conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

In 2023, 90% of class participants surveyed indicated they would consume more plant foods as a result of participating in Food for Life classes, and 95% of responding participants gave both the class experience and the quality of information shared the highest rating of “very good.”

Many participants shared their lifesaving health transformations after taking a Food for Life course.

“I returned to my doctor six months later, and my A1C had dropped over 3 points, and my weight was down 17 pounds (and continues to fall.) My overall outlook changed from depressed and frustrated to healthy and hopeful,” says Jodie Freeland, a participant in classes taught by Deborah Milkowski, MD, of New Bern, N.C.

“I lost 7.2% of my body weight and my cholesterol dropped from 190 to 142,” says Jan Manning, a participant in classes taught by Rene Pere of Battle Creek, Mich.

Training the Next Generation of Instructors

Fifty-four new Food for Life instructors—including five physicians, six nurses, one registered dietitian, and five professional chefs—graduated from the most recent training program in autumn 2023. In addition to the United States, instructors hailed from the Bahamas, Lithuania, France, and Spain. Seventeen of the instructors received full or partial scholarships, based on financial need and a commitment to teaching to communities disproportionately impacted by chronic disease. Since 2021, the Food for Life program has awarded 63 scholarships.

Leah Ogeto, who lives in Des Moines, Iowa, received a scholarship in 2022 and taught 37 classes in her first year as an instructor, helping participants improve their health and reverse diet-related diseases. One of Ogeto’s class participants said, “As a 75-year-old widow, I could not afford my medication. I followed the directions of Food for Life and completely gave up meat and dairy. I went for a check-up on the day of the final diabetes series and my doctor told me to stop taking the medications because my body has healed.”

Spotlight on Reaching Spanish Speakers

Compared with 2022, the Food for Life program increased its reach to Hispanic participants by 49% in 2023. This was accomplished in part with three new Spanish-language versions of Food for Life curricula and courses: Kickstart Your Health, Introduction to How Foods Fight Cancer, and Employee Wellness Program.

In 2024, the Food for Life program is committed to providing even more people with the knowledge and the skills they need to adopt a healthy plant-based diet.

Read the We Are Food for Life: 2023 Community Impact Report below:

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