A Narrative Review of Physician Perspectives Regarding the Social and Environmental Determinants of Obesity

  • Ashley H. Noriea
  • Feenalie N. Patel
  • Debra A. Werner
  • Monica E. Peek
Obesity (J McCaffery, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Obesity


Purpose of Review

Diet-related chronic diseases result from individual and non-individual (social, environmental, and macro-level) factors. Recent health policy trends, such as population health management, encourage assessment of the individual and non-individual factors that cause these diseases. In this review, we evaluate the physician’s perspective on the individual and non-individual causes and management of obesity.

Recent Findings

Physicians generally rated individual-level causes (i.e., biology, psychology, and behavior) as more important than social or environmental factors in the development of obesity, and utilized individual-level strategies over social or environmental strategies to manage obesity.


This review suggests that clinicians perceive individual characteristics to be more important in the development and management of obesity than social or environmental factors. Additional research is needed to understand why.


Obesity Etiology Management Attitude of health personnel Social determinants of health Environmental determinants of health 



Monica Peek is funded through NIDDK P30 DK092949 as well as the Greenwall Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ashley H. Noriea, Feenalie N. Patel, Debra A. Werner, and Monica E. Peek declare that they have 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.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley H. Noriea
    • 1
  • Feenalie N. Patel
    • 2
  • Debra A. Werner
    • 3
  • Monica E. Peek
    • 4
  1. 1.Section of General Internal MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.The John Crerar LibraryUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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