Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Obesity: Causes and Consequences

  • Chad D. JensenEmail author
  • Amy F. Sato
  • Elissa Jelalian
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_767


Obesity results from a complex interplay of biologic, environmental, genetic, and psychosocial factors that influence appetite, satiety, and food storage in the form of body fat. At a fundamental level, obesity results from a sustained positive energy balance; that is, consuming more energy than one expends over an extended period of time. Weight gain results from excess caloric intake, and weight loss results from greater caloric expenditure than intake. Thus, excessive caloric intake and insufficient physical activity are the primary contributors to obesity.

Biologic Influences

Research has demonstrated that energy balance is highly influenced by a complex biological system. This system balances the amount of fat in the body, partially by regulating the unconscious drive to eat (Friedman, 2009). This drive to eat is adaptive in times of food scarcity but has become problematic given the relative abundance of high-calorie foods and limited physical activity participation...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chad D. Jensen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amy F. Sato
    • 2
  • Elissa Jelalian
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyKent State UniversityKentUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Rhode Island HospitalBrown Medical SchoolProvidenceUSA