Obesity and the environment: where do we go from here?

Science. 2003 Feb 7;299(5608):853-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1079857.


The obesity epidemic shows no signs of abating. There is an urgent need to push back against the environmental forces that are producing gradual weight gain in the population. Using data from national surveys, we estimate that affecting energy balance by 100 kilocalories per day (by a combination of reductions in energy intake and increases in physical activity) could prevent weight gain in most of the population. This can be achieved by small changes in behavior, such as 15 minutes per day of walking or eating a few less bites at each meal. Having a specific behavioral target for the prevention of weight gain may be key to arresting the obesity epidemic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Walking
  • Weight Gain