Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Quick hit: Lose weight or kill the planet

From Reuters, via Stuff:
Overweight people eat more than thin people and are more likely to travel by car, making excess body weight doubly bad for the environment, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

"When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler," and food production is a major source of greenhouse gases, researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in their study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

"We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend toward fatness, and recognize it as a key factor in the battle to reduce (carbon) emissions and slow climate change," the British scientists said.

They estimated that each fat person is responsible for about one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions a year more on average than each thin person, adding up to an extra one billion tonnes of CO2 a year in a population of one billion overweight people.

The European Union estimates each EU citizen accounts for 11 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
There are many many reasons why some people eat more than others. And our measures of what constitutes "overweight" are not always very robust. I wish this article was a bit longer and had a bit more analysis about what the problem is and some possible solutions.


Deborah said...


katy said...

This is probably more an issue of the north vs the south (the north being populated by more fatties). It is interesting that it seems easier to make this about body shape (and of course men are more likely to be bigger boned and can't help it, so really it is overweight women who are killing the planet) than about what the real divide is: the poor south vs the rich north. The skinniest German is going to have a much greater impact in this regard than the plumpest Cambodian.

Julie said...

Deborah, yet more evidence of the feminazi hive mind in action ;-)

Julie said...

Deleted some spam about a diet plan. Note to spammers: a feminist blog probably isn't going to leave your body-judging comments up for long...