Overweight/obese - weighty matters

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Try not to step heavily on the earth. There are 3 reasons why it is greener not to be overewight or obese.

  • First, you get to be overweight by eating too much. This means you are eating more food than you need, and that means that your carbon footprint is larger than it should be too because it takes energy to grow, process and transport food.
  • Second, if you weigh more than you should it takes more energy to move you around. If I happened to weigh ten kilos more than I should (which I might)then that is the same as choosing to put 5 2 kilo packets of flour in the boot every time I get in the car, or on the bus or the train or aeroplane. Sure, 10 k might not mean much, but once six - eight people who weigh 10 kilos too much get on the bus, train or aeroplane that adds up to the weight of an additional woman or man.
  • Third, if you weigh more than you should and eat more salty, fatty and sugary food and/or drink more alcohol than you should you put yourself at risk of a range of diseases. These diseases can sometimes be controlled by medication and treatment - but medication and treatment, like everything else has a carbon footprint. Yes, we all have to die of something, and you can aquire some diseases through no fault of your own, and there are medical conditions that can cause people to carry excess weight - but - you don't go looking to get sick.

At that same time it is important not to weigh less than you should because that also leads to health problems. Some people will be measured as being overweight by the BMI scale but in fact simply be carrying more muscle than average. You can check this by measuring around your waist or by having a check done with calipers.

By and large we know what kinds of food will make us fat or contribute to health problems but we often choose to eat them anyway. If you think this might apply to you and if you want to know why you choose to eat what you do you may find David Kessler's book 'The End of Overeating' an interesting read.

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