News & Media Opinion Pieces Obesity and global warming: are they similar “canaries” in the same “mineshaft”?

Obesity and global warming: are they similar “canaries” in the same “mineshaft”?

Garry J Egger and John B Dixon (extract from the Medical Journal of Australia)

Obesity, linked to chronic disease, and global warming, linked to climate change, may be indicators of serious problems with our consumption-based economic system.

About 15% of the world’s population are now overweight or obese, and this is considered to be a factor in the rising incidence of chronic diseases. Excessive carbon concentrations now also exist in the atmosphere (50% higher now than 50 years ago), with implications for the environment and climate disruption.

Although it is not immediately obvious, there is a connection between these two phenomena, with energy being the common factor – excess energy intake over expenditure in the case of obesity, and excess carbon from energy sources over the capacity of environmental sinks (oceans, soil, plants) to absorb carbon in the case of the environment. This suggests there may be a common distal driver, in which case obesity and global warming could be symptoms of a broader environmental disorder & similar “canaries” in the same “mineshaft”.

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