Most people wouldn’t correlate a person’s health to the health of the environment – but, what if I told you the obesity problem in wealthier countries causes 1 billion tons in excess greenhouse gas emissions every year? The truth is people’s health directly impacts the environment.
A Polluted Industry:
In the US, 66% of people are either overweight or obese. As the obesity population continues to grow, the more resources and energy is used to supply the population. Excess foods, packaging and transportation are just a few areas that increases as nations become heavier. Carrying extra weight means eating more – which means more food has to be produced, packaged, transported and refrigerated. Here are some additional facts regarding the environmental impacts of obesity.
Facts on Obesity Epidemic:
- Worldwide obesity rates have tripled since 1975.
- The World Health Organization states in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight, and of that over 650 million were obese.
- Adult obesity rates are highest in the United States, Mexico, New Zealand and Hungary – while they are lowest in Japan and Korea.
- North America is home to 6% of the world’s population, but it accounts for 34% of the world’s human biomass.
- Carbon dioxide emissions worsens at obesity rates exceeding 33.7%.
- Nitrous oxide emissions worsens at obesity rates exceeding 22.5%.
- From 1970 to 2010, over 205 billion additional liters of fuel was consumed in transport to support extra weight of the American population, resulting in 503 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and $103 billion in extra fuel costs.
How can I make an impact:
Tier 1: Global Goodness
- The easiest way to make an impact with the obesity epidemic is to monitor your own health. By monitoring your health, reducing your consumption and maintaining an active lifestyle – we will naturally reduce our environmental impact.
- Reduce the amount of animal protein consumed. The food that has the highest environmental impact is animal protein. By limiting your meat consumption you can greatly reduce your food related greenhouse gas emissions.
Tier 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Are you healthy and active? Share your knowledge of what works for you with your friends and family. Gently planting seeds about health can inspire them to take control of their health.
- Start a community event or meetup with members of your community to exercise regularly and learn about healthy eating.
Tier 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Help change food laws. There are many discrepancies in the dietary guidelines given by the Food and Drug Administration – along with many big food companies pushing for certain dietary standards. By challenging Congress to update the current dietary standards we can help rewrite out of date information and create dietary guidelines that are good for the health of the people and the planet.
- Your health is your wealth. Take charge of it and watch the health of the planet improve.