News: Obesity is just as harmful to the planet as overpopulation

7 billion is a scary number’at least when it refers to the quantity of people that share the world’s resources.


7 billion is a scary number’at least when it refers to the quantity of people that share the world’s resources.

What’s even scarier is that there’s another’equally harmful’threat to the global ecosystem: Obesity.

According to a study published in BMC Public Health, the obesity epidemic basically adds the equivalent of about one billion extra people to our already overcrowded planet.

Who’s to blame?

North America, of course.

What North America lacks in size (accounting for only six percent of the world population) we make up for in biomass due to obesity, with a whopping (pardon the pun) 34 percent of the world’s weight concentrated in that six percent.

‘If all countries had the BMI distribution of the USA, the increase in human biomass of 58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults,’ the study’s authors wrote.

So what’s the solution?

‘Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability,‘ the study’s authors wrote.

Well, yeah. But how exactly do we do that?

Health Canada suggests moderating food intake, getting regular physical activity, reading nutrition labels, avoiding fad diets and, when all else fails, consulting your doctor.

Another suggestion? Reducing food waste and consumption of animal-derived foods.

‘The extent of food waste is unlikely to be related directly to body fatness and, on a world scale, may be greater among wealthier than poorer countries. In addition, the production of animal-based foods, especially meat, has a much greater impact on the world’s resources than plant-based foods,’ Professor John Mathers, director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, told the Huffington Post.

Or, we could just do whatever Asia is doing. They may account for 61 percent of the world’s population, but they only make up 13 percent of the world’s weight.

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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