Current Obesity Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 386–388 | Cite as

The Mass of Humanity and the Weight of the World: Obesity and the Environment at a Confluence of Causes

  • David L. Katz
Invited Commentary

In the USA, arguably the epicenter of the global obesity pandemic, obesity prevalence and severity have been rising relentlessly in adults and children alike for decades [1]. Following some early indications about potential prevalence, although not severity, plateaus in select demographic groups at least, the latest trend data suggest continued progression of the epidemic for most groups [2, 3, 4].

Global trends are if anything even more dire [5], for several reasons. In some countries defended against obesity and its sequelae by traditional dietary and activity patterns, notably in the Middle East, rapid conversion to so-called Western patterns of both has coupled an obesogenic environment and lifestyle to a naïve and unprepared population. The increases in obesity prevalence in such circumstances occur at unprecedented rates.

In addition, cultural transitions in India and China are exposing the world’s greatest concentrations of human beings to just such influences. The global scope...


Obesity Environment Sustainability Climate Diet Population 



Special thanks to Dr. Garry J. Egger for conducting a thorough critical assessment of this commentary.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

David L. Katz declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale University Prevention Research Center, True Health InitiativeGriffin HospitalDerbyUSA

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