Fat people require more food and that requires more farming and greenhouse gas emissions.  Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight is also good for the environment, according to a study which appears today in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

They highlight poor, third world countries like Vietnam as a model because they they can't afford food so they consume almost 20% less of it (and therefore cause fewer greenhouse gases to be produced) than a population in which over 40% of people are obese, where the USA and a few nations in Europe are heading by 2020.

According to Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene&Tropical Medicine's Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, transport-related emissions will also be lower in utopian places like Viet Nam because it takes less energy to transport slim people. The researchers estimate that a lean population of 1 billion people would emit 1.0 GT (1,000 million tons) less carbon dioxide equivalents per year compared with a fat one.

Remember the good old days when only stodgy old conservatives wanted to go back in time and impede progress and advancement?   Now that's what some progressives want.  Why anyone uses Viet Nam as a role model for anything is outside the realm of normal understanding, though it is true that mass murders and forced re-education camps reduce greenhouse gas emissions too so they had a lower baseline starting around 1976.

In nearly every country in the world, average body mass index (BMI) is rising. Between 1994 and 2004 the average male BMI in England increased from 26 to 27.3, with the average female BMI rising from 25.8 to 26.9 (about 6 lbs.  heavier). Humankind - be it Australian, Argentinian, Belgian or Canadian - is getting steadily fatter.

'When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler', say the authors. 'The heavier our bodies become the harder and more unpleasant it is to move about in them and the more dependent we become on our cars. Staying slim is good for health and for the environment. We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change', they conclude. 

Article: Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts: Population adiposity and climate change. International Journal of Epidemiology 2009;1-5