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Global warming and obesity: a systematic review

04 Oct 2017

Summary

Global warming and the obesity epidemic are two unprecedented challenges mankind faces today. A literature search was conducted in the PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCO and Scopus for articles published until July 2017 that reported findings on the relationship between global warming and the obesity epidemic. Fifty studies were identified. Topic-wise, articles were classified into four relationships – global warming and the obesity epidemic are correlated because of common drivers (n = 21); global warming influences the obesity epidemic (n = 13); the obesity epidemic influences global warming (n = 13); and global warming and the obesity epidemic influence each other (n = 3). We constructed a conceptual model linking global warming and the obesity epidemic – the fossil fuel economy, population growth and industrialization impact land use and urbanization, motorized transportation and agricultural productivity and consequently influences global warming by excess greenhouse gas emission and the obesity epidemic by nutrition transition and physical inactivity; global warming also directly impacts obesity by food supply/price shock and adaptive thermogenesis, and the obesity epidemic impacts global warming by the elevated energy consumption. Policies that endorse deployment of clean and sustainable energy sources, and urban designs that promote active lifestyles, are likely to alleviate the societal burden of global warming and obesity.

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