Evolving environmental factors in the obesity epidemic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter presents a systematic review of available data on environmental factors that may have contributed to recent trends in population body weight. It focuses especially on the US population, for which data on environmental change and body weight are most complete. The cause of the obesity epidemic that has affected the world for the last thirty years remains unknown. Although changes in body weight and fatness are surely the result of changes in energy intake and energy expenditure that are mediated by changes in food and activity choices, there are no clear data identifying the specific contribution of energy intake versus energy expenditure, or the specific contributions of specific behavioural choices. It is argued that consideration of biological and behavioural aspects of energy intake and use strongly favour change in energy intake as the most likely cause. However, the fact that population data on energy intake and energy expenditure cannot elucidate this issue is a cause for concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationObesity Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Aetiology to Public Health
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191595097
ISBN (Print)9780199571512
StatePublished - Sep 9 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2010. All rights reserved.


  • Body weight
  • Energy intake
  • Environment
  • Obesity
  • Risk factors


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