Rising obesity levels are threatening world food security, a new report warns.
Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said tackling population weight was crucial for food security and environmental sustainability.
“Population growth threatens global environmental sustainability – our study shows that population fatness is also a major threat,” said Ian Roberts, who led the research.
“Unless we tackle both population and fatness, our chances are slim.”
United Nations forecasts that the global population will increase by 2.3 billion to nine billion people by 2050, meaning there is increasing urgency to meet the requirement to feed more people.
The LSHTM report highlighted the growing obesity problem in North America, which contains 6% of the world’s population – yet 34% of the world’s biomass.
In contrast, Asia possesses 61% of the world’s population, but only 13% of the world’s biomass.
Closer to home, Europe appears to be following obesity trends in American trends, with Scotland second only to North America as the world’s “fattest nation”.
Across Europe, the average weight of people is 70.8kg, whereas in Asia it is just 57.7kg.
However, more than half of Europeans are overweight (55%), compared with just 24.2% of Asian people.