The prevalence of obesity has been rising steadily over the last several decades and is currently at unprecedented levels: more than 68% of US adults are considered overweight, and 35% are obese (Flegal et al., JAMA 303:235–241, 2010). This increase has occurred across every age, sex, race, and smoking status, and data indicate that segments of individuals in the highest weight categories (i.e., BMI > 40 kg/m2) have increased proportionately more than those in lower BMI categories (BMI < 35 kg/m2). The dramatic rise in obesity has also occurred in many other countries, and the causes of this increase are not fully understood (Hill and Melanson, Med Sci Sports Exerc 31:S515–S521, 1999).
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL et al. (2010) Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999–2008. JAMA 303(3):235–241
Hill JO, Melanson EL (1999) Overview of the determinants of overweight and obesity: current evidence and research issues. Med Sci Sports Exerc 31(11 Suppl):S515–S521
Aronne LJ, Nelinson DS, Lillo JL (2009) Obesity as a disease state: a new paradigm for diagnosis and treatment. Clin Cornerstone 9(4):9−25. discussion 26–9
Rolls BJ (2003) The Supersizing of America: portion size and the obesity epidemic. Nutr Today 38(2):42–53
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007) Prevalence of regular physical activity among adults—United States. 2001 and 2005. MMWR 56:1209–1212
Kimm, SY, Glynn NW, Kriska AM, et al. (2002) Decline in physical activity in black girls and white girls during adolescence. N Engl J Med 347:709–715
Gabbard C (2001) The need for quality physical education. J Sch Nurs 17:73–75
Andersen RE, Crespo CJ, Bartlett SJ, Cheskin LJ, Pratt M (1998) Relationship of physical activity and television watching with body weight and level of fatness among children: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA 279:938–942
Keith SW, Redden DT, Katzmarzyk PT, et al. (2006) Putative contributors to the secular increase in obesity: exploring the roads less traveled. Int J Obes (Lond) 30(11):1585–1594
Aronne LJ, Segal KR (2003) Weight gain in the treatment of mood disorders. J Clin Psychiatry 64(Suppl 8):22–29. Review
Gangwisch JE, Malaspina D, Boden-Albala B, Heymsfield SB (2005) Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: analyses of the NHANES I. Sleep 28(10):1289–1296
Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, Van Cauter E (2004) Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med 141(11):846–850
Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. (2011) The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet 378(9793):804–814
Swinburn B, Sacks G, Ravussin E (2009) Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 90(6):1453–1456
Wallinga D (2010) Agricultural policy and childhood obesity: a food systems and public health commentary. Health Aff (Millwood) 29(3):405–410
Pasarica M, Shin AC, Yu M, et al. (2006) Human adenovirus 36 induces adiposity, increases insulin sensitivity, and alters hypothalamic monoamines in rats. Obesity (Silver Spring) 14(11):1905–1913
Atkinson RL, Dhurandhar NV, Allison DB, et al. (2005) Human adenovirus-36 is associated with increased body weight and paradoxical reduction of serum lipids. Int J Obes (Lond) 29(3):281–286
Christakis NA, Fowler JH (2007) The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med 357(4):370–379
McAllister EJ, Dhurandhar NV, Keith SW, et al. (2009) Ten putative contributors to the obesity epidemic. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 49(10):868–913
Filozof C, Fernández Pinilla MC, Fernández-Cruz A (2004) Smoking cessation and weight gain. Obes Rev 5(2):95–103
Pelletier C, Imbeault P, Tremblay A (2003) Energy balance and pollution by organochlorines and polychlorinated biphenyls. Obes Rev 4(1):17–24
Collin A, van Milgen J, Dubois S, Noblet J (2001) Effect of high temperature on feeding behaviour and heat production in group-housed young pigs. Br J Nutr 86(1):63–70
Hedley AA, Ogden CL, Johnson CL, et al. (2004) Prevalence of overweight and obesity among US children, adolescents, and adults, 1999–2002. JAMA 291(23):2847–2850
Patterson ML, Stern S, Crawford PB, et al. (1997) Sociodemographic factors and obesity in preadolescent black and white girls: NHLBI’s growth and health study. J Natl Med Assoc 89(9):594–600
Finch CE, Loehlin JC (1998) Environmental influences that may precede fertilization: a first examination of the prezygotic hypothesis from maternal age influences on twins. Behav Genet 28(2):101–106
Segal NL, Allison DB (2002) Twins and virtual twins: bases of relative body weight revisited. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 26(4):437–441
Katzmarzyk PT, Hebebrand J, Bouchard C (2002) Spousal resemblance in the Canadian population: implications for the obesity epidemic. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 26(2):241–246
About this article
Cite this article
Wright, S.M., Aronne, L.J. Causes of obesity. Abdom Radiol 37, 730–732 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00261-012-9862-x
- Weight management
- Causes of obesity
- Bariatric surgery