The scientists used BMI data to calculate the total biomass and average body mass for the population of each country that published enough data to include in the study. Using a complicated algorithm, they worked out that in 2005 the combined weight of all the people on the planet was about 287 million tonnes, 15 of those tonnes due to overweight and another 3.5 to obesity. Their figures led them to conclude that the food energy impact of that excess poundage had about the same impact as a half billion more people sharing the planet.
When they divided the total tonnes by the world’s population, they found the average body mass of people around the globe to be 62 kg. Things started getting particularly interesting when they compared countries. North Americans topped the scale at at 80.7 kg, while Asians weighed in at 57.7 kg.
Almost three quarters of North Americans (73.9 percent) were overweight, compared with 24.2 percent of Asians and 55.6 percent of Europeans. That was 2005. In the seven years since the data were gathered, obesity and overweight have increased around the globe, which means 2012 figures would be even higher.
Next: Why the Numbers Matter
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