Ten Putative Contributors to the Obesity Epidemic
Department of Infections and Obesity, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.Critical reviews in food science and nutrition (Impact Factor: 5.18). 11/2009; 49(10):868-913. DOI: 10.1080/10408390903372599
The obesity epidemic is a global issue and shows no signs of abating, while the cause of this epidemic remains unclear. Marketing practices of energy-dense foods and institutionally-driven declines in physical activity are the alleged perpetrators for the epidemic, despite a lack of solid evidence to demonstrate their causal role. While both may contribute to obesity, we call attention to their unquestioned dominance in program funding and public efforts to reduce obesity, and propose several alternative putative contributors that would benefit from equal consideration and attention. Evidence for microorganisms, epigenetics, increasing maternal age, greater fecundity among people with higher adiposity, assortative mating, sleep debt, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical iatrogenesis, reduction in variability of ambient temperatures, and intrauterine and intergenerational effects as contributing factors to the obesity epidemic are reviewed herein. While the evidence is strong for some contributors such as pharmaceutical-induced weight gain, it is still emerging for other reviewed factors. Considering the role of such putative etiological factors of obesity may lead to comprehensive, cause specific, and effective strategies for prevention and treatment of this global epidemic.
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- "The recent and rapid worldwide increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) challenges the assumption that genetic factors are the primary contributors to such diseases (McAllister et al., 2009). The 'developmental origins of health and disease' (DOHaD) paradigm states that the environment during the periconception, gestation and lactation periods shapes the developing individuals, leading, in the case of a deleterious environment, to a predisposition to adult-onset diseases. "
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- "Obesity is usually recognized as the result of increased calorie intake and decreased energy expenditure, with a genetic contribution that has been estimated as 20e84% (Sharpe and Drake, 2013). However, there is increasing evidence that environmental factors play a major role in this condition (McAllister et al., 2009). It is well documented that adipose tissue is an endocrine organ that actively participates in the regulation of metabolism (Kershaw and Flier, 2004), and that the accumulation and mobilization of lipids in adipose tissue is highly influenced by hormonal signaling (Grun and Blumberg, 2009b). "
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