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Open AccessArticle

Demographic Scenarios of Future Environmental Footprints of Healthy Diets in China

by 1, 1,2,* and 3,4,*
1
International College Beijing, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Chinese-Israeli International Center for Research and Training in Agriculture, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
3
College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
4
School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, University Town, Shenzhen 518055, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(8), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081021
Received: 1 July 2020 / Revised: 26 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Changes and Global Warming—the Future of Foods)
Dietary improvement not only benefits human health conditions, but also offers the potential to reduce the human food system’s environmental impact. With the world’s largest population and people’s bourgeoning lifestyle, China’s food system is set to impose increasing pressures on the environment. We evaluated the minimum environmental footprints, including carbon footprint (CF), water footprint (WF) and ecological footprint (EF), of China’s food systems into 2100. The minimum footprints of healthy eating are informative to policymakers when setting the environmental constraints for food systems. The results demonstrate that the minimum CF, WF and EF all increase in the near future and peak around 2030 to 2035, under different population scenarios. After the peak, population decline and aging result in decreasing trends of all environmental footprints until 2100. Considering age-gender specific nutritional needs, the food demands of teenagers in the 14–17 year group require the largest environmental footprints across the three indicators. Moreover, men’s nutritional needs also lead to larger environmental footprints than women’s across all age groups. By 2100, the minimum CF, WF and EF associated with China’s food systems range from 616 to 899 million tons, 654 to 953 km3 and 6513 to 9500 billion gm2 respectively under different population scenarios. This study builds a bridge between demography and the environmental footprints of diet and demonstrates that the minimum environmental footprints of diet could vary by up to 46% in 2100 under different demographic scenarios. The results suggest to policymakers that setting the environmental constraints of food systems should be integrated with the planning of a future demographic path. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; carbon footprint; ecological footprint; healthy diet; food consumption; demographic scenarios water footprint; carbon footprint; ecological footprint; healthy diet; food consumption; demographic scenarios
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MDPI and ACS Style

Han, A.; Chai, L.; Liao, X. Demographic Scenarios of Future Environmental Footprints of Healthy Diets in China. Foods 2020, 9, 1021. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081021

AMA Style

Han A, Chai L, Liao X. Demographic Scenarios of Future Environmental Footprints of Healthy Diets in China. Foods. 2020; 9(8):1021. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081021

Chicago/Turabian Style

Han, Aixi; Chai, Li; Liao, Xiawei. 2020. "Demographic Scenarios of Future Environmental Footprints of Healthy Diets in China" Foods 9, no. 8: 1021. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081021

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