A conference on November 19 will focus on the ability of beans, lentils, and other legumes to address global health challenges such as obesity and diabetes, as well as provide an environmentally sustainable source of protein.

NEW YORK, November 17, 2015 - Beans, lentils, and other grain legumes, are slated for a big year in 2016. In anticipation of the "International Year of Pulses" (as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly) in 2016, experts in nutrition science, agriculture, food policy, and public health, will come together in Manhattan on November 19 for the conference, Little Beans, Big Opportunities: Realizing the Potential of Pulses to Meet Today's Global Health Challenges.

The conference, presented by  The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Bush Brothers & Company, takes a close scientific look at the potential of beans and other pulses to meet the imperative nutritional needs of women and infants during the first 1,000 days of life, reduce obesity and chronic diseases, and influence the microbiome.

How can pulses, the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, such as dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils, do all of this? Pulses are low in fat and high in protein (about 20-30 percent) and fiber; contain various vitamins and amino acids; and increase absorption of key nutrients. They also improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

Sonny Ramaswamy, PhD, Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will provide the keynote presentation on "Population, Public Health, Pulses and Partnership." Additional speakers will focus on three main themes:

  • The Nutritional Impact of Pulse Consumption,
  • The Promise of Pulses:  Economic, Environmental Policy, and Health Related Impacts, and
  • Utilizing Effective Multisectorial Partnerships to Promote Pulses in Nutritious Diets.

Speakers include representatives from the International Food Policy Research Institute, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, University of Minnesota, University of Ghana, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, University of Toronto, Food Tank, PepsiCo, Kansas State University, McGill University, and Pulse Canada.

For more information on the conference, as well as a full list of speakers and presentation topics, please visit the conference webpage.

For media inquiries, including requests for press passes, please contact Diana Friedman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 212-298-8645).

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About The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences is dedicated to advancing nutrition science research and knowledge, mobilizing communities, and translating this work into the field. The Institute is generating a coordinated network across sectors, disciplines, and geographies that promotes open communication; encourages exchange of information and resources; nurtures the next generation of scientists; and affects community intervention design and public policy changes. Visit www.nyas.org/nutrition for more information.

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org.