Earth Day Special: Losing weight is good for the environment

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under OBESITY

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earthI know. You have probably heard it all. Losing weight is good for you. And this absolutely true. People lose weight for a lot of reasons.

Weight and looks

For some people, it’s all about looks. They lose weight (or at least try to) because they associate slimness with good looks. Sometimes, however, vanity can have some bad consequences when they take the weight issue a bit too far and fall into the trap of eating disorders instead.

Weight and health

Losing weight is good for the health. After all, obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. Keeping fit and healthy is the best reason to lose weight. In the process, you feel good about yourself without being dependent on good looks.

Weight and the environment

Now, it seems there is another compelling reason for us to lose those pounds and manage our weight properly. Low weight is good for the environment and can help slow down climate change. Here are the reasons why:

  • Food consumption. Losing weight means low food consumption. It seems that food production contributes extensively to global warning. According to London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, the population of Vietnam, which is considered to be on the lean side, consume less food resources than say the overweight population of more developed countries such as the US.
  • Waste production. Food consumption is, of course, closely related to waste production. Again, according to the researchers, a lean population needs 20% less food resources and produce less greenhouse emissions than an overweight population.
  • Transport-related emissions. It is a known fact that energy consumption are related to weight. The more food a population eat, the more energy is needed for cargo transport. In addition, the heavier a population is, the more energy is spent on human transport. And corollary to this, the more transport-related emissions are produced. According to Science Daily

The researchers estimate that a lean population of 1 billion people would emit 1.0 GT (1,000 million tonnes) less carbon dioxide equivalents per year compared with a fat one.

This doesn’t mean that we should blame all environmental problems on overweight people because this is far from fair.

Instead, we should take these findings as a strong incentive to lose weight. And governments and health authorities should put more effort in tackling the obesity problem. For the sake of the population. For the sake of our planet. Happy Earth Day!

Photo credit: stock. xchng

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