Originally published August 30 2008
Obese People to Blame for Accelerating Global Warming?
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The weight and consumption habits of the overweight and obese are worsening the pace of global warming, said two researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in a letter to the medical journal Lancet.
It takes more fuel to transport people who are obese and therefore heavier, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote. In addition, heavier people do not just tend to eat more food: they actually require it. The researchers calculated that it takes an obese person 1,680 calories per day just to maintain their body functioning and another 1,280 to sustain their daily activities. This is 18 percent higher than the caloric intake required for a person with a normal body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure of weight relative to height that is used to calculate healthy body weight. A BMI of 18 to 25 is considered normal, while a BMI above 25 is considered overweight and one of 30 or more obese.
But according to Edwards and Roberts, 40 percent of the global population has a BMI in the neighborhood of 30 or more.
"We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility," Edwards said. "Obesity is a key part of the big picture."
The production and transportation of food is a major source of greenhouse gases, the researchers noted, with agriculture responsible for a whopping 20 percent of global emissions. They also faulted the overweight for contributing to global food shortages.
"Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food," the researchers wrote.
Tim Church of Louisiana State University questioned Edwards and Roberts' focus on obesity, noting that 25 percent of the food produced in the United States is thrown away.
"We throw away far more food than the extra 460 calories per day [that Edwards and Roberts] point out," Church said. "In other words, most of our food overproduction is due to waste, not overeating."
Sources for this story include: www.reuters.com, telegraph.co.uk.
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