1970s lifestyle protects planet

Published on BBC, by Phil Edwards, April 20, 2009.

Getting back to the relatively slim, trim days of the 1970s would help to tackle climate change, researchers say. The rising numbers of people who are overweight and obese in the UK means the nation uses 19% more food than 40 years ago, a study suggests …

… Heavier: And people are generally bigger than they were three decades ago. Between 1994 and 2004, the average male body mass index (BMI) in England increased from 26 to 27.3, with the average female BMI rising from 25.8 to 26.9 which equates to about 3 kg – or half a stone – heavier.

  • “This is not really just about obese people, the distribution of the whole population is what’s important,” said Dr Edwards.
  • “Everybody is getting a bit fatter.”
  • “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.”

It is not just a UK issue – in nearly every country in the world, the average BMI is rising. Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health said shifting the population weight distribution back to that of the 1970s would do quite a lot to help the planet.

  • “In the 1970s we had bigger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and there’s been a shift in the amount of exercise we do.
  • “All these things are combining to hurt the planet and this is a calculation that deserves a bit more attention,” he said.

(full text).

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