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Environmental consequences related to nutritional status of Thai populations

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Abstract

Aim

To quantify the cumulative environmental impact related to dietary preference of Thai adults classified by nutritional status.

Subject and methods

The study used the data from the Thailand National Food Consumption Survey in 2006. A sample of 4056 participants aged between 19 and 60 years were categorized (normal, overweight, and obesity) by body mass index (BMI) classification for Asians. Food consumption patterns were analyzed and amounts of popular food consumed were calculated. Each commodity’s input was converted into output during the life-cycle to CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq) using a Thai database. The most popular plant- and animal-based foods were selected to quantify their emission of GHGs (greenhouse gases) during transportation.

Results

Among the ten popular commodities, seven were plant-based foods. Annual GHG emissions by overweight and obesity were higher than that of the normal groups (367, 319, and 301 kgCO2-eq respectively). The highest GHG contributor was rice. Beef emitted more than other animal-based foods.

Conclusions

Food choices ultimately result in impacts on the environment. They also have consequences on public health related to health outcomes. It is therefore recommended that environmentally friendly consumption practices should be encouraged for climate change and food security.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful for the environmental database used in this study from the Thai National Life Cycle Inventory Database for Basic Materials and Energy, the Ministry of Industry and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand.

The author would like to thank Dr. Mehraj Ahmad, an native English speaker, for professional editing of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was funded by the Graduate Studies of Mahidol University Alumni Association, Thailand.

Author information

Correspondence to Kitti Sranacharoenpong.

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Conflict of interest

The author has no conflict of interests.

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Ethical approval was not required.

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Churak, P., Sranacharoenpong, K. & Mungcharoen, T. Environmental consequences related to nutritional status of Thai populations. J Public Health (Berl.) (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-019-01189-8

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Keywords

  • Greenhouse gas
  • Climate change
  • Thai food consumption
  • Dietary preference
  • Food security