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Global Obesity Puts Pressure on Earth's Resources

Update Date: Jun 19, 2012 09:30 PM EDT

Obesity are putting undue pressure on earth's resources, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has revealed that the world’s population weighs 316 million tons, and 17 million of those tons are due to overweight people.

Once again, the United States was found to be the heaviest country, followed by Kuwait and Croatia. The country accounts for 6 percent of the world's population but 34 percent, almost a third of its obesity-related weight.

The average U. S. adult weighs 178 pounds, while the average global body weight is 136 pounds.

In contrast, Asia has 61 percent of the world's population but only 13 percent of the world's mass due to obesity.

"When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population. Actually, when it comes down to it, it’s not how many mouths there are to feed, it is how much flesh there is on the planet," lead researcher Ian Roberts told the BBC.

"If every country in the world had the same level of fatness that we see in the USA, in weight terms that would be like an extra billion people of world average body mass."

The scientists used World Health Organization data from 2005 to calculate the total weight of the planet and the average global body weight.

Roberts suggested health campaigns and urban design that promotes walking or cycling as effective ways to tackle the obesity epedimic, which is mainly caused by sedentary modern lifestyles.

“We do not move our bodies so much but we are biologically programmed to eat,” he told the Daily Telegraph. "We often point the finger at poor women in Africa having too many babies. But we've also got to think of this fatness thing; it's part of the same issue of exceeding our planetary limits."

The study is published Monday in the journal BMC Health to coincide with Rio+20, the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development.

Heaviest 10 Nations and Lightest 10 Nations:

Heaviest 10 nations

1. The United States
2. Kuwait
3. Croatia
4. Qatar
5. Egypt
6. United Arab Emirates
7. Trinidad and Tobago
8. Argentina
9. Greece
10. Bahrain

Lightest 10 nations

1. North Korea
2. Cambodia
3. Burundi
4. Nepal
5. Democ. Rep. of the Congo
6. Bangladesh
7. Sri Lanka
8. Ethiopia
9. Vietnam
10. Eritrea

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