Not only is getting fat bad for, obesity, has a strain on the planet as well. A recent report from the British Medical Council looks at the effect of increased global fatness on world food energy demands and the study suggests that being obese could require as much food energy as another half billion people.
This has an effect on the economy, which could drive food prices to rise. The U.S. is responsible for bulk of that problem.
Using existing data on body mass index (BMI), and height distribution to estimate average adult body mass, calculating total biomass as the product of average body mass and population size, they estimate the percentage of the population of major countries are overweight or obese.
In 2005, the global adult human biomass was 287 million tons, 15 million of which can be traced back to overweight people, and 3.5 million of which are the result of obesity.
North America has just 6% of the planet’s population, but 34% of its biomass comes from obesity. Asia has 61% of the world’s population and just 13% of biomass from obesity.
The Guardian has created a handy visualization you can check out here, to see the outsized proportion of human biomass in the U.S. (the country is the biggest circle). That little dot to the upper left of the U.S. is China.
We're getting quite fat ourselves in this country. What with our late night snacking and heavy consumption of sugar. If every country were to have the same body mass index distribution as the U.S., it would equal to an equivalent mass of an extra 935 million people of average BMI with energy requirements of an additional 473 million people. The figures are staggering!
The trends are pointing towards a fatter global future. Reports show that obesity is in the rise worldwide, with weight gain and malnutrition coexisting in many lower-income nations.
If there's one thing we can for now, is to encourage others around us to exercise, and / or to cut down on consumption.