The overweight population is threatening future food security, scientists have warned.
Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra one billion people, researchers claimed after examining the average weight of adults across the globe.
Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said that tackling population weight is crucial for food security and ecological sustainability.
The United Nations predicts that by 2050 there could be a further 2.3 billion people on the planet and that the ecological implications of the rising population numbers will be exacerbated by increases in average body mass.
The world's adult population weighs 287 million tonnes, 15 million of which is due to being overweight and 3.5 million is due to obesity, according to the study, which is to be published in 'BMC Public Health'.
Professor Ian Roberts, who led the research at LSHTM, said: "Everyone accepts that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability -- our study shows that population fatness is also a major threat.
"Unless we tackle both population and fatness, our chances are slim."