Staying slim is good for the environment
These are the conclusions of a recent study carried out by two specialists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
This was the topic of an interesting article my dad sent me on how obesity is bad for climate change. That’s right, on top of endangering the patient itself, obesity endangers the whole planet.
Indeed this medical condition means that more food is produced to answer the demand as well as more greenhouse gases emissions as cars are more used.
The Guardian noted:
(…) a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology examines what the UK’s energy consumption would be if the average weight of the population was returned to how it was in the 1970s. The study found that due to the increased number of people today who are overweight, the UK consumes 19% more food than it did 40 years ago, which equates to an extra 60 mega tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. It also included the extra transport-related emissions caused by the increased obesity.
“This is not really just about obese people, the distribution of the whole population is what’s important,” said Dr Phil Edwards, the study leader and researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Everybody is getting a bit fatter. Staying slim is good for health and for the environment.”
(…) But the fat finger of blame seems to be directed at our ever-increasing meat consumption. It’s certainly not a secret that the global livestock herd is causing considerable damage to the environment, as was first widely publicised in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s “Livestock’s Long Shadow” report in 2006.
Science Daily bring us more interesting data:
Because food production is a major contributor to global warming, a lean population, such as that seen in Vietnam, will consume almost 20% less food and produce fewer greenhouse gases than a population in which 40% of people are obese (close to that seen in the USA today), according to Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Population Health.
Transport-related emissions will also be lower because it takes less energy to transport slim people. The researchers estimate that a lean population of 1 billion people would emit 1.0 GT (1,000 million tonnes) less carbon dioxide equivalents per year compared with a fat one.
In nearly every country in the world, average body mass index (BMI) is rising. Between 1994 and 2004 the average male BMI in England increased from 26 to 27.3, with the average female BMI rising from 25.8 to 26.9 (about 3 kg – or half a stone – heavier). Humankind – be it Australian, Argentinian, Belgian or Canadian – is getting steadily fatter.
‘When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler’, say the authors. ‘The heavier our bodies become the harder and more unpleasant it is to move about in them and the more dependent we become on our cars.
Staying slim is good for health and for the environment. We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change’, they conclude.