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

Abstract

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.

DESIGN

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).

CONCLUSIONS

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 approximately 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.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. boyd.swinburn@deakin.edu.au

    ,

    Source

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Child
    Child, Preschool
    Energy Intake
    Exercise
    Humans
    Obesity
    United States
    Weight Gain

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    19828708

    Citation

    Swinburn, Boyd, et al. "Increased Food Energy Supply Is More Than Sufficient to Explain the US Epidemic of Obesity." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 90, no. 6, 2009, pp. 1453-6.
    Swinburn B, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(6):1453-6.
    Swinburn, B., Sacks, G., & Ravussin, E. (2009). Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90(6), pp. 1453-6. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28595.
    Swinburn B, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increased Food Energy Supply Is More Than Sufficient to Explain the US Epidemic of Obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(6):1453-6. PubMed PMID: 19828708.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. AU - Swinburn,Boyd, AU - Sacks,Gary, AU - Ravussin,Eric, Y1 - 2009/10/14/ PY - 2009/10/16/entrez PY - 2009/10/16/pubmed PY - 2009/12/16/medline SP - 1453 EP - 6 JF - The American journal of clinical nutrition JO - Am. J. Clin. Nutr. VL - 90 IS - 6 N2 - 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. DESIGN: 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). CONCLUSIONS: 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 approximately 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. SN - 1938-3207 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19828708/full_citation L2 - https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-lookup/doi/10.3945/ajcn.2009.28595 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -