From: James Kanter, New York Times
Published April 24, 2009 11:16 AM

Is Being Overweight a Climate Problem?

Looking for inspiration to lose weight?

It may be worth taking a look at the results of a report in latest issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The study concludes that being overweight or obese "should be recognized as an environmental problem" because of its contribution to climate change from additional food and transport emissions.

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Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that a lean population, like the Vietnamese, consume about 20 percent less food and produce fewer greenhouse gases than a population in a country like the United States, where about 40 percent of people are obese.

The authors also found that transport emissions will be significantly less in countries with healthy average body weights because it takes less energy to transport slim people.

Many people already are aware that driving an S.U.V. or traveling by plane can dramatically increase an individual’s carbon footprint, and the study seems to support the idea that some of the most effective ways of reducing emissions begin with changes in individual lifestyles.

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