Climate change could result in more than 500000 adult deaths in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity.
It was revealed in the research published in the Lancet journal on 2 March 2016. The research, which was done by the Oxford Martin Future of Food Programme, is the first of its kind to assess the impact of climate change on diet composition and bodyweight.
The study estimated the number of deaths due to the changes in two factors - diet composition and body weight - in 2050 in 155 countries and concluded that China will see more deaths than any other country.
In 2050, an estimated 251 deaths per one million population will occur in China due to the two factors, While in India, which ranked 7 overall, the deaths were pegged at 105 per million.
Highlights of the Study
• Unless action is taken to reduce global emissions, climate change could cut the projected improvement in food availability by about a third by 2050.
• It will lead to average per-person reductions in food availability of 3.2 percent (99 kcal per day), in fruit and vegetable intake of 4.0 percent (14.9g per day) and red meat consumption of 0.7 percent (0.5g per day).
• In 2050, these changes could be responsible for around 529000 extra deaths worldwide, far exceeding the health benefits of reductions in red meat consumption (29000 deaths prevented).
• By 2050, reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause twice as many deaths as under-nutrition.
• Three-quarters of all climate-related deaths due to changes in food production are estimated to occur in China (248000) and India (136000 additional deaths).
• The countries that are likely to be worst affected are low- and middle-income countries, predominantly those in the Western Pacific region (264000 additional deaths) and Southeast Asia (164000).
• Cutting emissions could have substantial health benefits, reducing the number of climate-related deaths by 29–71 percent depending on the strength of the interventions.
• For example, in a medium emission scenario (increases in global average surface air temp of 1.3-1.4°C in 2046–65 compared to 1986–2005), the numbers of diet- and weight-related deaths could be reduced by about a third compared with the worst-case, high-emission scenario.
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