The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths worldwide are due to preventable environmental causes. Moreover, the most significant health threat to humanity comes from climate change.
Ideas for a better world
“Health promotion can contribute a lot to climate protection. Ditch the car, get on the bike, or eat more plant-based foods and consume less meat,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens).
“Both prevent disease and protect the climate,” the minister stressed. The Healthy Austria Fund (FGÖ) has included “Healthy lifestyles and climate protection through intersectoral cooperation” as a new program line in its current work program. “On the one hand, the FGÖ has successfully implemented measures to motivate the population to adopt a healthy lifestyle for more than 20 years. On the other hand, it is standard practice in health promotion to bring stakeholders from many sectors to the same table to develop further measures,” explained FGÖ Director Klaus Robin.
In addition to this new focus at the FGÖ, a “Climate and Health” competence center has been established at Gesundheit Österreich GmbH as part of the Ministry of Health’s health promotion agenda, bringing together interdisciplinary expertise from science, policy, and practice at the interfaces of climate protection, climate change adaptation, health promotion, and health care.
Nutrition report: Too much meat and sausages on the menu
According to the Austrian Nutrition Report, people overeat meat and sausage products. Eating less of these and more plant-based foods helps prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and cancer and contributes to climate protection. Also, if more attention is paid to consuming seasonal, regional, and organic food instead of far-traveled imported goods, the climate is protected, the FGÖ emphasized. But also, the avoidance of food waste, the reduction of packaging waste, and short shopping distances are essential aspects of climate-friendly nutrition.
Physical activity: health and climate benefit
Regular physical activity also has a positive effect on physical health and psychological and social well-being. Those who leave their cars behind for short distances and get on their bikes or scooters, or even walk, are doing something good for their health and the climate, says the FGÖ.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, the transport sector is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Thereby the highest portion of the emissions in the traffic is to be led back on the road traffic and here in particular on the passenger car traffic.
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