Global obesity: Fat Americans 30 percent of world's human biomass


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The global obesity epidemic is officially become scary. A new report shows the world's population is 17 million tons overweight, the equivalent of an extra 242 million people. America is significantly fatter than the rest of the world — the US accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population but one third of its excess biomass — but other nations are rapidly catching up.

If the rest of the world were as fat as America, it would be the equivalent of adding 1 billion average-sized people to the world's population.

"When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population," one of the paper's authors, Ian Roberts, told the BBC. "Actually, when it comes down to it, it's not how many mouths there are to feed. It is how much flesh there is on the planet."

"We often point the finger at poor women in Africa having too many babies," Roberts said. "But we've also got to think of this fatness thing; it's part of the same issue of exceeding our planetary limits."

The global obesity study was conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The results are embarrassing for the US, with has an average Body Mass Index of 28.7. Compare this with Japan, a similarly developed country with a healthier diet and more active population, where the national average BMI is 22.9. Americans should start taking diet tips from Asia. Asia accounts for 61% of the world's population, but only contributes to 13% of the global obesity.

A chart created by The Daily directly compares the nations with the heaviest people and the ones with the lightest by how many people you'd need to reach a ton. For example, the United States would need around 12 people to stand on a scale in order to reach a ton. Bangladesh, the country with the lightest people, would need 20 people.
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