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Approved research

Examining linkages between low emissions travel and low emissions diets: Towards a better understanding of healthy, sustainable lifestyles

Principal Investigator: Professor Hilary Graham
Approved Research ID: 14840
Approval date: December 1st 2015 | Completion date: October 30th 2020

Lay summary

Given growing concerns about climate change and rising rates of chronic disease, there is increasing interest in facilitating behaviours and lifestyles that are beneficial for both human health and the environment. This research seeks to investigate whether elements of healthy, sustainable lifestyles cluster together, by examining associations between low emissions travel (walking/cycling/public transport) and low emissions diets (low meat/high fruit and vegetable consumption). This research meets UK Biobank?s stated purpose in relation to the prevention of illness, as both diet and travel behaviour (as a form of physical activity) have important implications for the development of chronic disease. By examining linkages that may exist between these behaviours, we will gain a better understanding of potential synergies in lifestyle patterns and how these may be encouraged more effectively through targeted policies/programs. Moreover, as climate change itself is now widely recognized as a major threat to human health, facilitating low emissions lifestyles is also central to promoting health and wellbeing for future generations. This research will be undertaken by exploring relationships between different constituents of diet and personal transport related to low emissions lifestyles in UK Biobank. In particular, we will be examining associations between frequency of meat consumption (including beef, pork, lamb, poultry, processed meat) and forms of travel (e.g. cycling, walking, public transport, motor vehicle) to see if individuals who eat less meat also travel more sustainably, and how this varies among different population groups. We will mainly focus on data from the baseline assessment but may also examine patterns over time where follow-up data allow. This research will include analysis of the full Biobank cohort who completed the baseline questionnaire and provided information on diet and personal travel behaviour (~500 000), plus any additional data from follow-up assessments (e.g. 24 hour detailed dietary web questionnaire, repeat assessment cohort).