Epidemiology of obesity

  • Epidemiology of obesity
    • About 34% of adults in U.S. are obese
    • 1 in 10 children become obese as early as ages 2 to 5
    • Obesity rates are highest
      • In the South
      • Among African Americans and Hispanics
      • Among lower income and less educated
    • The processes leading to and sustaining obese state are complex
      • Body weight beyond physical requirements
      • Abnormal increase and accumulation of fat cells
    • Increase in number (hyperplasia) and size (hypertrophy) of adipocytes
      • Large increases in lipid storage
      • Preadipocytes are triggered to become adipocytes once storage of existing fat cells is exceeded
  • Genetic/Biologic basis
    • Strong evidence of significant genetic/biologic susceptibility factors that are highly influenced by environmental and psychosocial factors
      • Factors can be considered individually but in reality they are interrelated
    • Research has identified several genes linked to obesity
      • Energy thrifty genes
      • Strong link between FTO gene and BMI
        • People with 2 copies of a certain allele at the FTO gene weigh 7-8 lbs. more and have greater risk of obesity
    • Research focused on processes that control
      • Eating behavior
      • Energy metabolism
      • Body fat metabolism