Here’s a study that has a totally WTF conclusion:

Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth.


Except, there have been quite a few studies that show most fat people do not eat more than their average size counterparts (you have to love that this result continues to be a surprise to researchers).  In fact, if anything, fat people would be a blessing because many fat people have more efficient metabolisms (making it easier to become and stay fat) so they get the most benefit from the least food.

Now you might argue that more fat people will add to energy needs (it costs more fuel to move us in a vehicle) and add to resource consumption – we require sturdier infrastructure (we’re harder on surfaces (like sidewalks, flooring, etc.), require more support from furniture, stairs, etc.), and it takes more fabric to cover us (on the other hand, quit hating and a lot of us will probably be agreeable to wearing less).

Now read the “Results” section.  You can see that this is what happens when a “story problem” runs amok.  You remember story problems, right?  If a passenger train leaves Seattle going 60 mph, and a car leaves San Diego going 80 mph, what time will they reach Los Angeles? – Answer:  Who knows?  The car driver got stopped for speeding and the train had to pull over for a freight train in Klamath Falls and that’s the trouble with story problems, they don’t translate to real life.

And here’s what Whaliam had to say (I always ask him to give my posts a once over, because he is a fabulous editor, and as a mechanical engineer, he often is way better at analyzing the numbers and science):

To me, it’s important to say that the researchers don’t say how they calculated the food requirements of fat people as opposed to those of thin people. And why don’t they say? Because they didn’t account for that at all! They assumed that one kg of mass requires the same mass of food, irrespective of what body it’s in. When the whole point is to show the difference fatties make, ignoring this crucial difference is astoundingly stupid.


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