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April 22 2009 12:00 AM

Staying slim is good for the planet, according to two UK researchers who concluded that because food production has a big impact on global warming, a lean population such as that of Vietnam will eat nearly 20 per cent less food and produce fewer greenhouse gases than populations where 40 per cent of people are obese (close to that of the United States today).


The study was conducted by Drs Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and appears in the advanced access April 19 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.


The average BMI (Body Mass Index, the ratio of a person's weight in kg to their height in metres squared) of nearly every country in the world is going up. Between 1994 and 2004 in the UK this went up from 26 to 27.3 among men, and from 25.8 to 26.9 among women: the average adult in the UK is about 3 kg or half a stone, heavier. But this trend is reflected throughout the world: we are all gradually getting fatter.


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