By Melissa Pamer, NBCLosAngeles.com
Los Angeles is hoping to persuade people to become vegetarian - at least one day per week. Under a resolution unanimously approved by the city council this week, all future Mondays in the City of Angels have been declared "Meatless Mondays."
It's part of an international campaign to cut down on meat consumption for health and environmental reasons.
Both the spiritual home of the hamburger and a haven for the health-obsessed, Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to support the Meatless Monday campaign. The nonprofit initiative, started in 2003, is associated with Johns Hopkins University's public health school.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who introduced the motion with Councilman Ed Reyes, noted the environmental impacts of meat production, and she emphasized that a high-meat diet has been linked to health problems such as colon, prostate, kidney and breast cancers, as well as heart disease.
"Eating less meat can prevent and even reverse some of our nation's most common illnesses," Perry said.
"We've become disconnected in some ways from the simple truth that our health is directly affected by the foods we eat,'' she added.
Her motion posted 12-0 in a council session Friday.
Reyes said it is easy for individuals to feel helpless in the face of issues as big as global warming or the obesity epidemic, "but the small changes we make every day can have a tremendous impact. That's why this 'Meatless Monday' resolution is important. Together we can better our health, the animals and the environment, one plate at a time.''
The council resolution referred to the link between livestock and environmental problem, and noted that reduced consumption of animal-based foods can "lower our carbon footprint."
The decision was made "in support of comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to further encourage residents to eat a more varied plant-based diet to protect their health, protect animals and protect the environment."
The resolution also pointed to statistics showing more than half of Los Angeles County residents are obese or overweight, and stated reduced meat consumption can lower health risks.