The path to climate-smart, net-zero health care: A grand rounds series (2022)

with Health Care Without Harm

Session 5: Plant-forward diets in health care: A prescription for patients and the planet. Dec 1, 2022. Moderated by Health Care Without Harm’s Chief Program Officer and former director of the Healthy Food in Health Care program, this session features two physicians and the head of the Cool Food Pledge at the World Resources Institute. Experts will discuss how shifting to a plant-forward diet benefits patients and the planet, and can help decrease health care emissions, as well as how you can take action in your health care facility. The Cool Food Pledge helps dining facilities, including hospitals, cut their food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by shifting towards a more plant-rich diet with a goal of reducing food-related emissions by 25% by 2030.

Reducing meat and increasing plants in the diet can be beneficial for preventing and treating diet-related diseases, and help reduce associated health care utilization and costs. Plant-forward eating also benefits the environment, as plant-based foods require less water and land to produce and have a significantly lower climate footprint than animal-based foods. Shifting towards more plant-forward foods is not only a way to reduce the risk of disease, but also a proven way for health care organizations to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, The Global Road Map for Health Care Decarbonization recommends serving healthy, sustainable food and establishing disease prevention and climate prevention as strategies to help reduce health care emissions. Recognizing the health and environmental benefits of plant-forward eating, hospitals around the world are responding by reducing meat and increasing plant-forward menu options.