Monday, June 18, 2012

The nations' burden - obesity

This from BMC Public Health:
"Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth."
This is the conclusion of a group of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who say that people’s weight – not just population size – should be taken into account when planning how to deal with increasing pressure on the planet’s dwindling resources.
Key findings:
               In 2005, global adult human biomass was approximately 287 million tonnes, of which 15 million tonnes were due to overweight (BMI > 25), a mass equivalent to that of 242 million people of average body mass (5% of global human biomass).
               Biomass due to obesity was 3.5 million tonnes, the mass equivalent of 56 million people of average body mass (1.2% of human biomass).
               North America has 6% of the world population but 34% of biomass due to obesity.
               Asia has 61% of the world population but 13% of biomass due to obesity.
               One tonne of human biomass corresponds to approximately 12 adults in North America and 17 adults in Asia.
               If all countries had the BMI distribution of the United States, the increase in human biomass of 58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults.
Key facts from the World Health Organisation:
               a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
               a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
More key facts:
               Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
               In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.
               65% of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
               More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
Obesity is preventable.

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