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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 978672, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/978672
Review Article

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Dietary Choice: Perspectives from a Behavioural and Social Change Approach

1EACH Social and Community Health, 46 Warrandyte Road, Ringwood, VIC 3134, Australia
2Department of Occupational Therapy, Monash University, Peninsula Campus, P.O. Box 527, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
3Department of Health Promotion, School of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia

Received 27 February 2012; Revised 30 April 2012; Accepted 30 April 2012

Academic Editor: Suminori Akiba

Copyright © 2012 Andrew Joyce et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Climate change is recognised as a significant public health issue that will impact on food security. One of the major contributors to global warming is the livestock industry, and, relative to plant-based agriculture, meat production has a much higher environmental impact in relation to freshwater use, amount of land required, and waste products generated. Promoting increased consumption of plant-based foods is a recommended strategy to reduce human impact on the environment and is also now recognised as a potential strategy to reduce the high rates of some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Currently there is a scant evidence base for policies and programs aiming to increase consumption of plant-based diets and little research on the necessary conditions for that change to occur and the processes involved in such a change. This paper reviews some of the environmental and health consequences of current dietary practices, reviews literature on the determinants of consuming a plant-based diet, and provides recommendations for further research in this area.