May 16, 2008

Obesity ‘Key Part’ Of Global Warming

Obesity is a contributing cause of global warming, according to new research published in the journal Lancet on Friday.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine reported that overweight people not only require more fuel for their own transport, more fuel is also demanded because they consume more food.

This problem, which is adding to the effect of food shortages and higher energy prices, is expected to worsen as more people become obese across the globe, said researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts.

"We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility," Edwards said. "Obesity is a key part of the big picture."

Researchers used a model that marked 40 percent of humans worldwide as obese with a body mass index of almost 30. BMI calculates height to weight, with normal BMI falling somewhere between 18 to 25, and 30 is considered obese.

Obese people require 1,680 daily calories to sustain normal energy and another 1,280 calories to maintain daily activities, 18 percent more than someone with a stable BMI, researchers said.

Edwards also assumed that slimmer people were more likely to eat less and walk more, which could potentially lower demand for fuel for transportation and agriculture.

This is also important because 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions stem from agriculture, he said.

Now Edwards says researchers must determine exactly how much weight obesity has in contributing to climate change.

"Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food," Edwards and Roberts wrote.

At least 400 million adults worldwide are obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects by 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.


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