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Seminar on "Soy -- The Cow of China"

The soya bean has been a key food in China, where it originated, for thousands of years. It is frequently termed "the cow of China" because it plays the role that milk does in many Western societies. Evidence of its health-giving properties are enabling it to become more important in Western diets, too, while it also attracts interest of dieticians and nutritionists around the globe.

Seminars on the health benefits of soy were held recently in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, the PRC.

One of the foremost researchers into the health effects of soya is Dr Mark Messina, a highly respected nutrition expert in the US. He was in Hong Kong and Guangzhou to deliver information regarding the most recent findings into the benefits of soya. Dr Messina is the author of The Simple Soybean and Your Health (1994). He has a master's degree in nutrition from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in nutrition from Michigan State University. He formerly worked with the National Cancer Institute, where he was responsible for allocating funding for research into the effects of soya on cancer prevention. He also organized and chaired five international symposia on the role of soya in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. He is the editor of a soya newsletter for dietitians, has co-authored several books on soya and plant-based diets, and has written more than 50 professional articles on soya and soyabean components.

Dr Keyou Ge, the Beijing-based President of the Chinese Nutrition Society and Deputy Chief of the National Consultative Committee on Food and Nutrition in Mainland China, explained at the same seminars the promotion of soy in the PRC as an important part of a healthy diet. Dr Ge has qualifications from the PRC and US, and is widely published in respected journals in both Asia and the West. His specialist interests include diet and nutrition among the Chinese population, particularly children.

In the recent soy seminar in Hong Kong, Professor Suzanne C. Ho, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, revealed the new research into the effects of soy consumption on bone health among teenage girls in Hong Kong. Her major research interests are in nutrition and chronic diseases, and women's health and aging, particularly osteoporosis. She is one of the key investigators of the Centre for Research in Nutritional Studies and has published 13 books/chapters and more than 100 scientific papers in international refereed journals. Dr Ho has been awarded a number of research grants in the conduct of phytoestrogens intake and women's health.

Both seminars on soy were well-received by the nutritional and medical fields.