Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity

Swinburn, Boyd, Sacks, Gary and Ravussin, Eric 2009, Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity, American journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 1453-1456, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28595.

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Title Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity
Author(s) Swinburn, Boyd
Sacks, GaryORCID iD for Sacks, Gary
Ravussin, Eric
Journal name American journal of clinical nutrition
Volume number 90
Issue number 6
Start page 1453
End page 1456
Total pages 4
Publisher American Society for Clinical Nutrition
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2009-12
ISSN 0002-9165
Summary Background: The major drivers of the obesity epidemic are much debated and have considerable policy importance for the population-wide prevention of obesity.

Objective: The objective was to determine the relative contributions of increased energy intake and reduced physical activity to the US obesity epidemic.

We predicted the changes in weight from the changes in estimated energy intakes in US children and adults between the 1970s and 2000s. The increased US food energy supply (adjusted for wastage and assumed to be proportional to energy intake) was apportioned to children and adults and inserted into equations that relate energy intake to body weight derived from doubly labeled water studies. The weight increases predicted from the equations were compared with weight increases measured in representative US surveys over the same period.

Results: For children, the measured weight gain was 4.0 kg, and the predicted weight gain for the increased energy intake was identical at 4.0 kg. For adults, the measured weight gain was 8.6 kg, whereas the predicted weight gain was somewhat higher (10.8 kg).

Increased energy intake appears to be more than sufficient to explain weight gain in the US population. A reversal of the increase in energy intake of 2000 kJ/d (500 kcal/d) for adults and of 1500 kJ/d (350 kcal/d) for children would be needed for a reversal to the mean body weights of the 1970s. Alternatively, large compensatory increases in physical activity (eg, 110–150 min of walking/d), or a combination of both, would achieve the same outcome. Population approaches to reducing obesity should emphasize a reduction in the drivers of increased energy intake.
Language eng
DOI 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28595
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, American Society for Nutrition
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Public Health Research, Evaluation, and Policy Cluster
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