image: Joe 13 via flickr
You've undoubtedly seen umpteen reports detailing the myriad health problems associated with obesity, and probably have read how our industrial food system sure supplies calories, but not so many that are actually healthy. Now a new report goes one step further, linking increased energy consumption and people being overweight:The report, done by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looks at energy usage in the UK and obesity. It suggests that people in the UK are consuming 19% more food than 40 years ago.
In the 1970s the UK saw "normal" rates of obesity—about 3.5% of the adult population being significantly overweight—but by 2010 it's predicted that about 40% of the population will be obese. That's similar to what is already seen in the United States.
1 Gigatonne of Additional Greenhouse Gases Released by Highly Obese Population
All that means that because of the increased use of fuel needed to carry all that extra weight around—both bodily and because of the additional food consumption—an additional 1.0 Gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per billion people are released into the atmosphere.
Staying Slim Good For Health & The Planet
Report authors Dr Phil Edwards and Prof Ian Roberts say that,
When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler. 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 recognize it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change.