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Mother-Daughter Doctor Duo Are Helping Health Professionals Understand Plant-Based Nutrition

Dr. Heleen Roex and her daughter Dr. Juliette Roex are working side-by-side to help Australians and New Zealanders optimise their health and quality of life. Dr. Heleen is a Co-founder and Chair of the Board of Doctors For Nutrition, a registered health-promotion charity led by medical and dietetic professionals.

Dr. Heleen Roex said due to the pandemic, her resolve to inspire the healthcare sector, policymakers, and society at large to shift towards whole food plant-based nutrition was stronger than ever. 

“It is now well documented that poorer outcomes from COVID-19 are associated with those who suffer from existing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. The good news is, it is also well documented that a healthy diet, rich in plant-based foods can have a positive effect on these chronic diseases. A healthy plant-based eating pattern can prevent, manage, or even reverse these conditions, in turn lowering the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19,” Dr Roex said. 

Doctors For Nutrition was co-founded in 2018 by Dr Heleen Roex after identifying that Australia and New Zealand needed an independent voice to call to attention the role of nutrition in healthcare. Her daughter Dr. Juliette Roex graduated from medical school in 2017 and is currently in GP training. She shares her mothers passion and is the Lead Student Advisor for Doctors For Nutrition.

“Very little is currently taught to medical practitioners on the benefits of shifting towards whole food plant-based diets for human health. We saw the need to address this by providing information, education, and resources to improve the health and well-being of the human population. 

“My view of the ‘healthcare’ system forever changed when my mother introduced me to the world of whole-food plant-based nutrition in 2010 during my first year of medical school. 

Ever since, I’ve dreamed of empowering as many people as possible to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so that they can optimise not only their own wellbeing, but also that of the animals and the planet,” Dr Juliette Roex said. 

The Dr Roex duo is excited Doctors For Nutrition has launched ‘Plant-based nutrition and health: A guide for health professionals’, a tool kit to provide their peers with evidence-based guidance on healthy, sustainable eating patterns. 

Dr Juliette Roex said: “Our work seeks to benefit healthcare professionals, by equipping them with nutrition education and tools to implement this knowledge into their patient care. Being the first point of contact for many individuals GPs are a priority group for us to assist. 

“Unfortunately, many GPs simply do not have enough time to provide their patients with nutrition advice. This guide is a practical way to bridge this gap. In just 10 minutes, you’ll be informed about shifting to a more whole-food plant-based eating pattern and the range of positive outcomes that are typically experienced by those who adopt it,” she said. 

Image from Doctors For Nutrition

 

‘Plant-based nutrition and health: A guide for health professionals’ includes practical tools such as a nutritional survey to quickly assess patients’ diets and find easy areas for improvement. There is a useful guide to handout to patients to help them move towards plant-based eating, including a dietitian-designed shopping guide focused on plant-based eating. 

Dr Heleen Roex said: “Sadly this isn’t the last or the most severe pandemic we are likely to experience. We need to use this global crisis as an accelerator towards healthy, nutritious, and sustainable diets. We are proud to be able to provide health professionals an extremely relevant and simple tool to do this,” she said. 

“Personally, I am also proud that I can keep on driving the work of Doctors For Nutrition with my passionate and like-minded daughter by my side,” Dr Heleen Roex said. 

Free access will be available to health professionals and the general public at www.doctorsfornutrition.org/professionals. More evidenced-based information on whole food plant-based nutrition across all life-stages can be found at www.doctorsfornutrition.org

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