The original story appeared in American Journal of Preventive Medicine
and has been gleefully picked up by the world press.
Airlines in the USA are getting concerned at their rising fuel bills because their passengers are getting fatter. Americans put on 4.5 kilos during the 1990's. In the year 2000, airlines in the USA had to use an extra 1.3 billion litres of fuel to carry their overweight passengers.
According to a new government study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) airlines are becoming concerned at this rising cost. The extra cost in the year 2000 was $275 million (US airlines).
This extra weight airlines have to carry also increases the amount of carbon dioxide airplanes emit - an extra 3.8 tonnes every year.
This is another consequence of America's obesity problem, says the CDC - the problem being environmental (and financial).
Obesity has been rising steadily throughout the industrial world and a great part of the developing world as well. The problem is more acute in the USA, where 65% of the adult population is overweight or obese (56% at the beginning of the 1990s).
Some people say the problem is mainly due to bad diet, others say it is because of lack of physical activity. The problem is probably due to a combination of both - poor diet and inactivity.