Environmental and lifestyle influences on obesity

J La State Med Soc. 2005 Jan:157 Spec No 1:S19-27.


Obesity is an end result of the intricate interactions of biology, behavior, and environment. Recent hypotheses in the scientific community suggest the current obesity epidemic is being driven largely by environmental factors (e.g., high energy/high fat foods, fast food consumption, television watching, "super-sized" portions, etc.) rather than biological ones. Individuals are bombarded with images and offers of high fat, high calorie, highly palatable, convenient, and inexpensive foods. These foods are packaged in portion sizes that far exceed federal recommendations. Furthermore, the physical demands of our society have changed resulting in an imbalance in energy intake and expenditure. Today's stressful lifestyles compound the effects of environmental factors by impairing weight loss efforts and by promoting fat storage. Combating the obesity epidemic demands environmental and social policy changes, particularly in the areas of portion size, availability of healthful foods, and promotion of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet / psychology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Environment Design / trends
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Urbanization / trends