Sunday , November 28 2021

Tommorow's population will be bigger, heavier and more.



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It is important to remember that as the world's population approaches 9 billion people, people are getting bigger and more calories are needed. Credit: NTNU

Food demand is growing. To feed 9 billion people in 2050, much more food is needed than previously calculated.


"It will be harder to feed 9 billion people in 2050 than it is today," says Dr. Gibran Vita. Candidate for the Industrial Ecology Program of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

According to WWF, the biggest environmental problem in the world is the destruction of wildlife and plant habitats. Much of the devastation is due to the ever-increasing demands of the human population. Zero Hunger, on the other hand, is the second United Nations Sustainable Development Goal and is a challenge as global food demand increases.

The world's population can now reach about 9 billion in thousands of years, but now it is only 7.6 billion.

But the average person in the future will need more food than today. One of the reasons is the change in eating habits, the attitude towards food waste, the increase in height and weight, and demographic transition.

People are changing.

Professor Daniel B. Muller and colleagues Felipe Vásquez and Vita analyzed population change in 186 countries from 1975 to 2014. The average population is getting bigger. "

The first phenomenon contributes to increased food demand. The second interferes with the former.

The average adult in 2014 was 14% heavier, 1.3% larger, 6.2% older, and 6.1% more energy than in 1975. Researchers expect this trend to continue in most countries.

"The average world adult consumed 2465 kilocalories a day in 1975. In 2014 an average adult consumed 2615 kilocalories.

Globally, human consumption has increased 129 percent during this period. Population growth rate was 116% and weight and height accounted for 15%. Elderly people need a small amount of food, but consumption is reduced by 2% due to population aging.

"An additional 13% corresponds to the needs of 286 million people," says Vasquez.

This in turn corresponds to food demand in Indonesia and Scandinavia.

Key Differences

There are significant differences between countries. Between 1975 and 2014, the per capita weight gain was between 6 and 33%, and the increased energy requirement was between 0.9 and 16%.

The average person from Tonga is 93kg. The average Vietnamese weight is 52kg. This means that Tongan people need more than 800 calories per day of potassium.

Some countries are changing rapidly. In St. Lucia in the Caribbean, the average weight increased from 62 kilograms in 1975 to 82 kilograms in 40 years.

The lowest and the biggest changes are found in Asia and Africa and reflect the inter-continental gap between the continents.

Not counted previously

"When calculating the future food needs of a growing population, previous studies have not increased the demands of large individuals and older communities," Vásquez said.

Most studies estimate that average adult food demand is constant over time and fairly similar across countries. But that's not the way.

"These assumptions can lead to errors in assessing how much food actually needs to meet future demand," says Vasquez.

The study provides relevant information on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is a leader in the struggle to ensure food security.

Vásquez and Vita say that in order to understand the mechanisms that prevent consumption we must look beyond the number of people in the region. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach that takes into account both social and physiological factors.

The analysis of this study includes biological demographics, a complex of biology and demography. Researchers have adopted a dynamic system model that is often used in industrial ecosystems to study resource ecosystems and resource flows.


Additional information:
World Food Day: The fish disappeared and people disappeared.

Additional information:
Felipe Vásquez et al., Food security for aging and aging populations, Sustainability (2018). DOI: 10.3390 / su10103683

Provided by:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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