By Sara Novak, Planet Green
The American obesity epidemic has become a hot topic of news. And with good reason considering we’re the fattest nation in the world and we’re only getting fatter. But a new study led by David Allison, a biostatistician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and reported in Scientific American has shown that animals are experiencing the same problem. And this isn’t just household pets as you may expect, it’s animals that live anywhere close to humans.
Allison and his team examined the changes in weight of 24 different species, 12 male and 12 female. Some of the varied species included household pets like cats and dogs as well as feral rats that live near humans. The researchers tracked weight gain per decade.
According to the study:
Because there were no clear guidelines for what animals should weigh, the authors defined obesity as the weight above the 85th percentile in each group at the earliest time point for which they had data. Both the percentage increase in body weight and the odds of an animal being overweight in a given population showed a strong trend upwards.
So what’s causing animals to get fatter? Why are dogs and cats becoming more susceptible to weight gain along with farm animals and rodents? Both the study authors and other relevant animal experts came to conclusions about why so many species were fattening up, many of which may surprise you.
Related: American Pets Getting Fatter