Today in science that pisses us off: being "fat" is bad for the environment.
According to Reuters, "overweight people eat more than thin people and are more likely to travel by car, making excess body weight doubly bad for the environment, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine." First, overweight people don't necessarily eat more. And second, rather than telling people to lose weight so they can drive less, why not just tell them to drive less? Cut out the middleman! Contrary to stereotype, plenty of overweight people already enjoy biking, walking, and other environmentally friendly pursuits — can't we just make these options more attractive by, say, designing walkable neighborhoods, offering incentives to bike to work, and creating more bike paths? And what about increased funding for public transportation? Telling people to put down that cheeseburger and save the environment just sounds like a great way to shift the responsibility for climate change off onto individuals, rather than enacting large-scale policies that could actually fix the problem.
But why build a bike path when there's a groovier way to save the world — a "1970's lifestyle!" According to the BBC, back in the 70's the UK had "a 'normal' adult population, where only 3.5% are classed as obese." "In the 1970s," says Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health, "we had bigger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and there's been a shift in the amount of exercise we do." If people's bodies have changed since the 70's, we should probably look at the reasons why — like longer work hours and walking-unfriendly communities. A lot of these issues, if addressed, might help stop climate change anyway, irrespective of their effects on our weight. But if you really want to burn calories while living a 70's lifestyle, there's always disco.