(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Keeping your weight under control doesn't just keep you healthy -- it's also good for the environment.
According to a new study, a lean population will consume almost 20 percent less food and produce fewer greenhouse gases than a population in which 40 percent of people are obese. The researchers say food production is a major contributor to global warming.
Researchers say transport-related emissions will also be lower because it takes less energy to transport slim people. They estimate a lean population of 1 billion people would emit less carbon dioxide compared with a fat population.
It's not just America that's getting fatter. In nearly every country in the world, average body mass index (BMI) is rising. Between 1994 and 2004 the average male BMI in England increased from 25 to 27.3, according to researchers.
"When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler," the authors write. "The heavier our bodies become the harder and more unpleasant it is to move about in them and the more dependent we become on our cars."
They conclude that improving human health is a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change.
Source: International Journal of Epidemiology, April 2009