Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. However, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes are a growing problem, accounting for more than two-thirds of the nation’s health expenditure.  According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: [2,3]
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 35% of all deaths
- Cancer accounts for around 30% of all deaths in Australia
- Over one million Australians have type-2 diabetes
Fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients that are potentially protective against cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. [4,5] By cutting your saturated fat intake by going without meat one day a week, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables every day, but especially on Meatless Mondays, you can have a positive impact on your health, now and into the future.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, making it especially vulnerable to climate change. Australians need to question the impact and sustainability of current practices in light of the following:
- Between 50,000 and 100,00 litres of water is required to produce just one kilogram of beef. In comparison, up to 1,550 litres of water is needed to produce one kilogram of rice. Most fruits and vegetables require much less water than rice production. 
- Animal industries contribute over 30% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions. 
- Land grazed by animals for human consumption accounts for almost 50% of the Australian continent. This figure does not take into account the land that is cleared and used to produce food for these animals. 
- The beef, sheep and dairy industries account for 92% of land clearance and soil degradation in Australia. 
The food you eat has a major effect on our environment. There are significant environmental benefits to be gained from adopting a vegetarian diet, even for one day a week. If enough people take the Meatless Monday Pledge, we not only help avoid dangerous climate change, but also prevent further habitat loss for Australia’s threatened wildlife.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia, Canberra, 2006.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Australia’s Health, Canberra, 2008.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australasian Association of Cancer Registries, Cancer survival and prevalence in Australia, Canberra, 2008.
- Strategic Inter-Governmental Nutrition Alliance. Eat Well Australia: A strategic framework for public health nutrition. Canberra, National Public Health Partnership, 2001.
- NHMRC. Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults. National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra. 2003.
- Meyer, Wayne., Water for Food – The Continuing Debate. 1998. http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/water_for_food.pdf
- Foran, B.L., Lenzen, M., M.Dey, C., Balancing Act: A triple-bottom-line analysis of the Australian economy. CSIRO Technical Report, 2005.