287 Million Tonnes

This kind of quirky story easily catches my attention. It’s a data point that’s not particularly relevant to anything, but it’s so garish that it seems important. Scientists have calculated the mass of humanity, and it comes in at 287 million tonnes. This estimate, based on data from 2005, takes body mass index (BMI) and average national height for adults and multiplies it by population to get our estimated total mass. Not including children.

Approximately 15 million of those tonnes are due to excess weight. In other words, obesity accounts for the equivalent of 242 million people of normal weight. If the whole world had the BMI of the United States, it would be like adding almost another billion people to the world population.

Humans are not only increasing in number, but also in size.

rjb

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