February 2, 2009

Dietary Choices Called Global Concern

Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens

Communications Director

Center for a Livable Future

Interesting reading here! A new article in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, “Health Professionals’ Roles in Animal Agriculture, Climate Change, and Human Health” (subscription required) notes what we eat is rapidly becoming an issue of global concern. “With food shortages, the rise in chronic disease, and global warming, the impact of our dietary choices seems more relevant today than ever,” state the authors. “Globally, a transition is taking place toward greater consumption of foods of animal origin, in lieu of plant-based diets. With this transition comes intensification of animal agriculture that in turn is associated with the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases, environmental degradation, and the epidemics of chronic disease and obesity.”

The article discusses climate change and environmental degradation, noting animal agriculture accounts for 37%, 65%, and 64% of anthropogenic methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia emissions, respectively, from ruminant fermentation, livestock waste, fertilizer use and other factors.

The journal article offers a series of recommendations. “Health professionals can set an example by consuming fewer animal products at home and at work, and by demanding healthier plant-based options in hospital cafeterias, doctors’ and nurses’ lounges, and at professional conferences and meetings,” according to the authors, who point to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and the American Public Health Association as “prime examples of how meatless meals can be promoted.”

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