To what degree are Norwegian parents aware of the relationship between meat consumption and greenhouse gases?
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Background: Sustainability and health are high in both the national and global political agenda. Norway has committed to a 40 % reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, compared to emissions in 1990. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals accentuates the importance of sustainable food production and consumption, to battel climate change. Climate scientists have established the important effectiveness of eating less meat. As meat consumption is high in Norway, consumers may not be aware of this impact or their awareness may not translate into lower meat consumption. The objective of this study is to assess to what extent Norwegian parents are aware of the impact of meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Method: Data from the Fruits and Vegetable Makes the Mark project from 2018 was used in the analysis (n=540). A cross-sectional survey was conducted, and parents of 6th and 7th graders in Hedmark and Telemark were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of different mitigation options that were either food-related or energy-related. They were also asked if they tried to eat less animal products for environmental reasons, and requested to report their weekly meat frequency intake in a food frequency questionnaire. Based on these data, analyses were conducted to asses how parents evaluate different mitigation options and if perceived effectiveness of eating less meat affects meat consumption frequency. Results: The results show that the study population perceives throwing away less food and recycling food waste are the most effective mitigation options for preventing global warming. The mean perceived effectiveness score of eating less meat as a mitigation option, was rated low compared to most of the other mitigation options and was in the bottom three. Perceived effect of eating less meat as a mitigation option was related to efforts to try to eat less animal food. A trend was seen in the linear regression analysis, with decreasing meat intake frequencies as effectiveness rating increased. Conclusion: Parents in this study are a bit hesitant to reduce meat consumption as a mitigation option. This is partly due to lack of knowledge, but consumer with knowledge about the relationship between meat consumption and GHG emissions, does not necessary try to eat less meat. Parents are thus not ready to make diet related choices based on climate mitigation.
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