The Global Syndemic: How obesity, climate change and under-nutrition are linked

There's a whole new theory around the ill health of our planet and those of us who live on it.

A new study say obesity, under-nutrition and climate change are so closely linked that they can no longer be tackled separately.

Eating too much red meat and processed food, as well as an over-reliance on cars, are contributing to obesity and climate change. Add in under-nutrition and you have what's being labelled 'The Global Syndemic'.

Population Nutrition and Global Health professor, Boyd Swinburn is the co-chair of a major new report commissioned by The Lancet. The report found obesity, under-nutrition and climate change are together the greatest threat to human and planetary health.

"It's a synergy of epidemics which occur in time and place that interact with each other and have common drivers," Prof Swinburn says.

He says we can no longer fight obesity, or global under nutrition, in isolation from climate change.

"We've got climate change, which is going out of control and not enough action, and we've got obesity going out of control and not enough action - and hello, they're caused by the same societal problems."

Consuming too much red meat has been linked to cancer and obesity, while agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

Over-reliance on cars leads to too much sedentary time and creates carbon dioxide emissions.

Indigenous Health expert, Dr Ihi Heke, says if our planet's sick, we get sick.

"Whakapapa show causal links between environment, such as climate change, and how we can acknowledge those and cause changes in people," he explains.

"So we're closely tied to the environment.  Whatever happens to the environment happens to us."

The report authors say the three epidemics are caused by the same things, so government policies that address all of them are needed.

They say if we don't treat the triple-burden as one, we and the planet will suffer for it.



Contact Newshub with your story tips: