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Plant Based Meals in Prison K-12 and Hospitals

WHEREAS, in the most recent U.S. data regarding causes of death of African-Americans, in 2016, approximately 330,844 African-Americans died. The top 5 causes of death are listed as follows:

  1. Heart Disease - 24.3% or 80,395 people
  2. Cancer - 23.3% or 77,086 people
  3. Un-intentional Injuries - 5.5% or 18,196 people
  4. Stroke - 4.8% or 15,880 people
  5. Homicide - 2.2% or 7,881 people

 (2016 National Center for Health Statistics)

WHEREAS, in the first large-scale study to document the extent of the race gap in heart disease, researchers reported that one in 100 black adults develop heart failure in their 30s and 40s, which is a rate 20 times higher than that of similarly aged white men and women; and

WHEREAS, the heart failure rate among young black adults was more like that of white men and women in their 50s and 60s; and

WHEREAS, the black adults in the study, who developed heart disease early, had at least one of four risk factors -high blood pressure, being overweight, chronic kidney disease or low levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density cholesterol, or HDL) (See Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, author and co-director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco General Hospital); and

WHEREAS, children who rely on free or reduced-price school lunches have a disproportionate rise in poor health indicators, including obesity, risk for heart disease, diagnoses of cancer, and adult onset diabetes, which are linked to diet; and

WHEREAS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health recommend a greater emphasis in the American diet on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which contain fiber and essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, but are low in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol; and

WHEREAS, the USDA's Team Nutrition program has stated that less than 15 percent of children eat the minimum daily recommended servings of fruit, 35 percent eat no fruit on a given day, only 17 percent consume the minimum daily recommended servings of vegetables, and 20 percent eat no vegetables on a given day, and exposure to vegetarian entrees in the school cafeteria would positively influence children with poor eating habits; and

WHEREAS, school children whom identify themselves as vegetarian or vegan or are from families who avoid meat and dairy foods may be at a disadvantage if no appropriate school lunch meals are offered in their respective schools; and

WHEREAS, research has shown that plant-based meals rich in complex carbohydrate foods (such as beans, lentils, grains, potatoes, pasta, and oranges) are less expensive than meals featuring animal proteins; and

WHEREAS, in April 2015, a jail in Arizona went vegetarian and the prison saved $200,000 by spending money on meatless food in the first year of the program. Arizona spends approximately $25,000 per inmate per year, which is the amount Maryland spends on each student; and

WHEREAS, Maryland annually spends $44,601 per inmate per year with a total of approximately 24,028 prisoners at an annual cost of approximately $1,071,682,231; and

WHEREAS, it is estimated that Maryland could save up to $600,000 per year by transitioning the entire meal servings to plant-based meals; and.

WHEREAS, the Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, California reported that in 1997 when it started its plant-based meal program called New Start, its recidivism rate, (rate of re-arrest) for their released inmates was only two percent (2%), but the state average in California is over 90 percent; and

WHEREAS,to address this health concerns of school children and to lower recidivism rates in California prisons, the California Legislature just pasted this September 2018 SB 1138, which mandates plant -based meal options in K-12 schools, prisons and hospitals; and

WHEREAS, on July 10, 2018 the Northern District of New York District Court held that prisons must serve prisoners plant-based meals based on their dietary needs and convictions.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates for mandatory plant based meals in prisons and options in K-12 schools and hospitals shall be a 2020 legislative priority for the NAACP consistent with the data driven research regarding the health outcomes provided by plant-based meals and consistent with the California legislation which passed a mandatory plant-based meal option for K- 12 schools and hospitals and mandate 100% plant-based meals in prisons to reduce the current recidivism rates.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that by Fall 2021 school year that all K-12 schools, prisons and hospitals will implement the plant-based meal options or 100% plant-based meal program and that the K-12 meal options shall include whole meal options and not just "side dish" options for Children, Said meal plans shall include a high concentration of whole fruits and vegetables as grown. 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that all institutions shall provide plant-based meal education and/or demonstrations or tasters to identify the most tasteful and culturally relevant plant-based alternatives and recipes that replace animal products to insure consumption by students, inmates and patients.