18 Jun 2012

Fat people threaten global food security

8:21 pm on 18 June 2012

Scientists in Britain say an increasingly overweight world population is threatening global food security.

The researchers say that if average human weight around the world followed the trend in North America, where almost three-quarters of the population are overweight, it would be like adding an extra billion people to the population to be fed.

The leader of the research, Professor Ian Roberts, says that obesity is as much of a problem as population growth, the BBC reports.

"We always point the finger at poor women in Africa for having too many babies," he says. "Actually we've also got to think of this fatness things - it's part of the same issue of exceeding our planetary limits".

Professor Roberts says the adult human population has a combined weight of 287,000,000 tonnes. The average human weight is 62kg, but the average in North America is a third higher.

A Professor of Public Heath at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, he warns that the "whole world is getting fatter".

"It's not about obesity, it's about fatness," he says.