Understanding Childhood Obesity

By J. Clinton Smith | Go to book overview

4.
Obesity: A Disorder
of Energy

E=mc2

Albert Einstein

In chapter 3, we learned that the major sources of energy for humans are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We followed these foods through the digestive process, and learned how their digestion, use as energy, and storage are controlled. What we want to become more familiar with now is exactly how energy is used by cells in the performance of their various functions, and how energy imbalances can determine whether a person becomes obese or not. The secret to understanding obesity is to learn how the balance between acquiring energy and expending energy is disturbed. This chapter and the next will help you see how this balance operates.


How the Energy Contained in Foods Is Used by the Body

Suppose you are served a plate of food. Instead of eating it, you take it outside, build a big fire, and throw the food into the fire. What happens? After a little sputtering, the food catches fire by combining with oxygen in the air, and it burns. Oxygen is critically important to the burning process. Carbon dioxide and water are released into the atmosphere as the fire becomes hotter using the energy released from the food. So instead of a

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Understanding Childhood Obesity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Understanding Childhood Obesity 1
  • 1. - Why is Obesity an Important Health Problem in America? 3
  • 2. - Who is Obese, and How Do We Know? 17
  • 3. - How Our Bodies Obtain Energy 33
  • 4. - Obesity: a Disorder of Energy 50
  • 5. - Some Factors That May Determine Obesity 64
  • 6. - What Can Be Done to Prevent Childhood Obesity? 81
  • 7. - If Prevention Doesn't Work 99
  • 8. - The Great Beyond: New Frontiers in the Treatment of Obesity 122
  • Notes 131
  • Glossary 135
  • References 140
  • Index 149
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