How Much Does Everyone On Earth Weigh?

How much does everyone on Earth weigh if you add it all together? That's the question a team of UK researchers have asked, and after many calculations, they have the answer.

Researchers from the London School Of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded yesterday that the total weight of the human adult population weighs in at 287 million tonnes.

The calculations were based on statistics from the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. The maths goes a bit like this: there's over seven billion people on the planet with an average mass of 62 kilograms each.

Not surprisingly, North America topped the charts for average mass per citizen, tipping the scales at 80.7 kilograms each, and that's a problem according to researchers:

While the average body mass globally was 62 kilograms, North America, which has the highest body mass of any continent, has an average body mass of 80.7kg. North America has only 6 per cent of the world’s population but 34 per cent of the world’s biomass mass due to obesity. In contrast Asia has 61 per cent of the world’s population but only 13 per cent of the world’s biomass due to obesity.

If all countries had the same average [body mass index] as the USA the total human biomass would increase by 58 million tonnes -- this is the equivalent of an additional 935 million people of world average body mass.

Obviously, a larger population is harder to keep fed, meaning that global food sustainability will become more and more of an issue. If you ever needed a good reason to lay off the cheeseburgers, this is it. [London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine]

Image: Day 99 image by Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0

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