Reducing the consumption of red and processed meat and eating more fruit and vegetables could increase the average life expectancy by eight months, a new study suggests.
Researchers said it would also cut deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Their recommendations are part of a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society, which looked at how climate change measures can improve people's health and save lives both now and in the long term.
Experts said that increasing physical activity, for example by cycling or walking rather than driving, would not only be beneficial health-wise but could also save the NHS £17 billion over 20 years.
Phasing out fossil fuels could cut the 36,000 premature deaths a year from air pollution, the paper adds, while better home insulation would prevent fatalities linked to low temperatures, which account for up to 50,000 deaths a year.
Reducing the consumption of red and processed meat and eating more fruit and vegetables could increase the average life expectancy by eight months, a study suggests (stock image)
Meat and dairy accounts for 57 per cent of food-based greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new computer modelling study.
The research, led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, found that food-based agriculture is responsible for 17.318 billion metric tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is 35 per cent of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Broken down by food type:
- Animal-based food emissions contribute 57 per cent (9.8 billion metric tonnes)
- Plant-based food emissions contribute 29 per cent (5.1 billion metric tonnes)
- 'Non-food' utilisation such as cotton and rubber production contributes 14 per cent
Sir Andy Haines, co-chairman of the report and professor of environmental change and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: 'This report brings us some profoundly good news: the choices we make individually and as a society to prevent climate change will also improve our health, with the potential to reduce the pressure on our overburdened health services — both now and for future generations.'
The report brought together