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Humans are getting bigger, and that means more strain on the world’s food supply

Published Nov 14th, 2018 12:08AM EST

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Everyone knows that obesity is a major health crisis in the United States and many other countries, but humans aren’t just getting fatter, we’re also getting bigger overall. Humans are getting larger and larger, and the average person is now significantly taller than the averages of decades past.

On top of that, we eat more, and that’s bad news for planet Earth.

A new study conducted by researchers with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) reveals that the nutritional demands for the human race are steadily climbing, and not just because there’s more of us. Larger people need to eat more, and as humans get larger, that’s going to put additional strain on food supplies.

“We studied the effects of two phenomena,” Gibran Vita of NTNU’s Industrial Ecology Programme said in a statement. “One is that people on average have become taller and heavier. The second is that the average population is getting older.”

According to the data, humans are now around one-and-a-half percent taller overall than we were in 1975, as well as 14 percent heavier. Because the human population is living longer, the average age is also over six percent higher than it was in 1975. Crunching the numbers, the scientists figure that this means the average person needs around six percent more food energy than they did back then.

Over that same time frame, overall human food consumption spiked by a whopping 129 percent, with approximately 116 percent of that growth coming from population increases and the other 15 percent stemming from humans being larger on average. Humans are already struggling with maintaining food supplies in many areas of the world, especially developing countries, and those issues are only going to get worse as each generation consumes more and more.

The solution? Well, we don’t really have one yet.