Online citations, reference lists, and bibliographies.
Please confirm you are human
(Sign Up for free to never see this)
← Back to Search

The Weight Of Nations: An Estimation Of Adult Human Biomass

S. Walpole, D. Prieto-Merino, P. Edwards, J. Cleland, G. Stevens, I. Roberts
Published 2012 · Medicine

Save to my Library
Download PDF
Analyze on Scholarcy
Share
BackgroundThe energy requirement of species at each trophic level in an ecological pyramid is a function of the number of organisms and their average mass. Regarding human populations, although considerable attention is given to estimating the number of people, much less is given to estimating average mass, despite evidence that average body mass is increasing. We estimate global human biomass, its distribution by region and the proportion of biomass due to overweight and obesity.MethodsFor each country we used data on body mass index (BMI) and height distribution to estimate average adult body mass. We calculated total biomass as the product of population size and average body mass. We estimated the percentage of the population that is overweight (BMI > 25) and obese (BMI > 30) and the biomass due to overweight and obesity.ResultsIn 2005, global adult human biomass was approximately 287 million tonnes, of which 15 million tonnes were due to overweight (BMI > 25), a mass equivalent to that of 242 million people of average body mass (5% of global human biomass). Biomass due to obesity was 3.5 million tonnes, the mass equivalent of 56 million people of average body mass (1.2% of human biomass). North America has 6% of the world population but 34% of biomass due to obesity. Asia has 61% of the world population but 13% of biomass due to obesity. One tonne of human biomass corresponds to approximately 12 adults in North America and 17 adults in Asia. If all countries had the BMI distribution of the USA, the increase in human biomass of 58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults.ConclusionsIncreasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth.
This paper references
Predicting basal metabolic rate, new standards and review of previous work
Schofield Wn (1985)
The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass
Walpole (2012)
Energy expenditure in overweight and obese adults in affluent societies: an analysis of 319 doubly-labelled water measurements.
A. Prentice (1996)
10.1093/jhmas/50.4.559
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
FURTHER PARTICULARS (2010)
Human energy requirements : report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation : Rome, 17-24 October 2001
Joint Fao (2004)
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division: World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
An Essay on the Principle of Population. London: John Murray; 1826. Library of Economics and Liberty [Online] available from http
Tr Malthus (2011)
United Nations: World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2009 Revision
(2010)
10.1038/oby.2008.44
Ten‐year Changes in Central Obesity and BMI in Rural and Urban Cameroon
L. Fezeu (2008)
Ten - year changes in central
LK Fezeu (2010)
Reaping the Benefits: Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture
B. Davies (2009)
WHO Global Infobase Team: The SuRF report 2. Surveillance of chronic disease risk factors: country-level data and comparable estimates
(2005)
Predicting basal metabolic rate, new standards and review of previous work.
W. Schofield (1985)
Rome: Rome; 17-24
United Nations: World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2009 Revision. New York: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division
(2010)
FAO: Human energy requirements: Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation Rome: Rome
(2001)
Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. Rome; 17-24
WHO Global Infobase Team: The SuRF report 2. Surveillance of chronic disease risk factors: country-level data and comparable estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization
(2005)
10.4324/9781912281176
Essay on the Principle of Population
T. Malthus (2001)
An Essay on the Principle of Population. London: John Murray; 1826. Library of Economics and Liberty
T R Malthus
10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62037-5
National, regional, and global trends in body-mass index since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 960 country-years and 9·1 million participants
Mariel M. Finucane (2011)
The Royal Society: Reaping the benefits: Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture. London: The Royal Society
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division: World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, CD-ROM Edition. UN
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division: World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, CD-ROM Edition
(2012)
10.17816/ecogen11698-8449
Figure 1
James G Shamul (2003)



This paper is referenced by
10.1007/s40003-019-00414-w
Formaldehyde-Associated Risk Assessment of Fish Sold in Local Markets of Bangladesh
Shuva Bhowmik (2019)
10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2017.10.021
The effect of wedge and tibial slope angles on knee contact pressure and kinematics following medial opening‐wedge high tibial osteotomy
Marianne Black (2018)
The design and evaluation of discrete wearable medical devices for vital signs monitoring
D. G. Pitts (2015)
10.1080/10807039.2018.1426437
Characterization, source apportionment, and human health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in road dust of a small island state in the Caribbean
F. Mohammed (2018)
10.1097/BOT.0000000000001341
Far Cortical Locking Fixation of Distal Femur Fractures is Dominated by Shear at Clinically Relevant Bridge Spans
Nahir A. Habet (2019)
A2_7 Rise (and Fall) of the Planet of the Apes
G. Holyoak (2019)
10.1007/978-981-32-9433-2_1
Fabrication of Customized Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) by Reverse Engineering Using Fused Deposition Modelling
H. S. Mali (2020)
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.079
Effects of heat recovery for district heating on waste incineration health impact: a simulation study in Northern Italy.
M. Cordioli (2013)
10.3390/toxins10090348
A Risk Assessment of Aflatoxin M1 Exposure in Low and Mid-Income Dairy Consumers in Kenya
S. Ahlberg (2018)
10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0480
Repurposing the Antidepressant Sertraline as SHMT Inhibitor to Suppress Serine/Glycine Synthesis–Addicted Breast Tumor Growth
S. L. Geeraerts (2020)
10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123272
Assessing population exposure to phthalate plasticizers in thirteen Spanish cities through the analysis of wastewater.
I. González-Mariño (2020)
10.1089/biores.2018.0004
The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Women with Breast Cancer: An Update Review of Related Research in the Middle East
Zainab Taha (2018)
Toxic Effects in Gaster of Rhizoma Coptidis (Huang Lian) Treated Mice using Histology Technique
Aduka Nurul Syameera (2018)
10.1021/acs.est.6b05612
Wastewater-Based Epidemiology as a New Tool for Estimating Population Exposure to Phthalate Plasticizers.
I. González-Mariño (2017)
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.07.052
Risk assessment of the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coastal areas of Thailand affected by the 2004 tsunami.
S. Pongpiachan (2013)
10.1016/j.diabet.2013.04.001
Anthropometric indices predicting incident type 2 diabetes in an Iranian population: the Isfahan Cohort Study.
M. Talaei (2013)
10.1038/s41598-020-57669-5
Molecular characterization and safety assessment of biofortified provitamin A rice
N. Oliva (2020)
10.1007/s40262-014-0209-3
Interethnic Differences in Pharmacokinetics of Antibacterials
D. Tsai (2014)
10.1080/10934529.2017.1369813
Organophosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) and phthalates in floor and road dust from a manual e-waste dismantling facility and adjacent communities in Thailand
Dudsadee Muenhor (2018)
10.1201/b18042-38
Assessment of children exposure doses to ultrafine particles in primary schools
J. Rufo (2015)
10.7243/2055-3447-2-4
Anxiolysis and recognition memory enhancement with long-term supplemental ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in normal rats: possible dose dependency and sex differences
R. Hughes (2015)
10.1093/cid/ciz344
Impact of Intravenous Fluid Therapy on Survival Among Patients with Ebola Virus Disease: An International Multisite Retrospective Cohort Study.
A. Aluisio (2019)
10.2166/washdev.2018.096
Can a precast pit latrine concrete floor withstand emptying operations? An investigation from Malawi
Joshua Mchenga (2018)
The transformation of xenoestrogenic prenylated flavonoids from hop (Humulus lupulus) inflorescences during the beer brewing process.
Lance Robert Buckett (2016)
10.1111/J.1740-9713.2014.00730.X
North Americans – one third of the world's weight?: Obesity and the comma
S. Dudzic (2014)
10.1016/J.SCITOTENV.2018.12.442
Mercury, silver, selenium and other trace elements in three cyprinid fish species from the Vaal Dam, South Africa, including implications for fish consumers.
C. Plessl (2019)
10.1007/s10661-018-6862-5
Investigating toxic metal levels in popular edible fishes from the South Durban basin: implications for public health and food security
Sanjeev Debipersadh (2018)
Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy to Quantify In Vivo Tissue Optical Properties: Applications in Human Epithelium and Subcutaneous Murine Colon Cancer
G. J. Greening (2019)
Nonlinear Vibration Energy Harvesting Using Piezoelectric Tiles Placed in Stairways
C. Edlund (2017)
10.4028/www.scientific.net/KEM.867.196
Deformation Analysis of Internal Fixation Plate on Femur Bone Fracture: A Study Case on Local Raw
Achmad Syaifudin (2020)
10.9734/JOCAMR/2018/45315
Psychotropic Medications Weight Gain: A Clinical Dilemma Looked Through the Lens of Therapeutic Challenges, Complementary Approaches and Pharmacotherapies
N. A. Qureshi (2018)
10.1080/19338244.2020.1787317
Indoor air pollution from cook-stoves during Injera baking in Ethiopia, exposure, and health risk assessment.
Asamene Embiale (2020)
See more
Semantic Scholar Logo Some data provided by SemanticScholar