It’s an age-old scenario at the family dinner table: parents or caregivers nagging kids to eat their vegetables. But while some children need a little prodding to eat their peas or brussels sprouts, according to new research published Thursday in the medical journalThe Lancet, thanks to climate change, future generations might not even have something green and healthy to hate.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, predicts that the effects of rising temperatures could decimate nutritious crops and thus kill as many as half a million people every year by 2050. “The health burden related to climate change is much bigger than we thought,” Peter Scarborough, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at the University of Oxford, told The Guardian.
The study links the leading cause of death overall to reductions in fruit and vegetable supplies. Eating a diet rich in those items reduces the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and can lower blood pressure and the risk of obesity. Yet, if carbon emissions continue to rise, by 2050 the amount of fruits and vegetables available to people would be cut by 4 percent, followed by calories being cut by 3 percent, and red and processed meat by less than 1 percent, according to the study.