Body Size and the Environment:
The study of how humans affect the environment has been focused on the number of people in the world. While the number of people is certainly an important factor, the average body weight of 6 billion people also plays a major role. For example, a CDC researcher, Dannenberg, found that a mere 10 pound increase in the average weight of Americans increases airline fuel consumption by over 350 million gallons per year. The increase in carbon dioxide production due to this extra fuel was about 4 million tons. Over the last 60 years we have increased our weight by 50 pounds.
Airline and other transportation costs are only one facet of increased body size. Larger people need millions of tons of additional food, water, energy, metals, plastics and minerals. Huge amounts of additional trash, air and water pollutants, and farmland are also needed to meet the demands of larger people if there lifestyle is to remain unchanged.
Can We Afford Promoting Greater Height and Body Weight?
There are additional costs related to increasing body size. Larger people need more food and water, cloth to cover their bodies, bigger vehicles to carry them, and larger aircraft to carry them because they need more leg room and bigger seats. Medical costs also increase due to increased medical costs. Larger hospital rooms, beds and toilets cost more.However the major cost is increased chronic disease that goes with the Western diet and excessive nutrition. We currently spend about $2 trillion for medical care in the U.S. However, C.T. Campbell predicts a cost of $16 trillion by 2030. Our findings indicate that a plant-based diet with moderate life-long caloric restriction would eliminate most of these costs related to health problems.
The findings challenge many traditional beliefs about nutrition and growth and are based on about 35 years of research. Their studies have been published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Life Sciences, Acta Medical Okayama , The Journal of the National Medical Association, Acta Paediatrica, Ageing Research Reviews, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Experimental Gerontology, American Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Chinese Clinical Medicine, and South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Other journals include Earth Island Journal, World Future Society, Electric Perspectives (Edison Electric).
Chapters on human body size have also been published in The International Encyclopedia of Public Health; Trends in Nutrition Research, New Developments in Obesity Research, and Future Vision: Ideas, Insights and Strategies.
Support for Findings:
Recent support for their findings has come from other researchers who have attributed lower longevity to the length of telomeres which are attached to the ends of chromosones. These telomeres shorten with cell replications and eventually stop replicating because most somatic cells can only reproduce for 70 to 100 times before ending their life cycle. Studies show that telomere attrition is accelerated due to building and maintaining taller and bigger bodies and shorter telomeres are related to reduced health and longevity.
Where Samaras and his associates have Published Their Findings?
The findings presented in various journals are summarized in the book:
Human Body Size and the Laws of Scaling
Physiology, Performance, Growth, Longevity and Ecological Ramifications
publsihed by Nova Science Publishers, NY, in 2007. Contributors included Samaras, TT, A. Bartke, PHd. and D. Rollo, Ph.d. The book has been reviewed by a number of journals.