Understanding Childhood Obesity

By J. Clinton Smith | Go to book overview

5.
Some Factors That
May Determine Obesity

Genetics is to biology what the atomic theory is to the physical sciences.

Dr. Victor A. McKusick, Human Genetics

In this chapter, we will use the energy equation to help organize our ideas about the possible ways in which obesity can develop. In some cases, we will discuss the clues that help answer the question “Is obesity inherited?” A leading theory addressing this question is that obesity probably results from an interaction of our genes with our environment. We become obese only if we have certain genes and if our energy intake is greater than our energy expenditure. We know a lot about how environment influences the development of obesity, and the goal of intensive research that is presently being done is to identify and characterize the genes that better explain the role of our nervous systems, hormones, enzymes, and other regulatory mechanisms in this process. We will learn more about this exciting area of inquiry in chapter 8.

For our discussion, remember that different researchers may have examined different phenotypes (from the Greek words phainein [“display”] and typos [“model”], meaning what a person looks like) in their obesity research. In addition, some may have measured total or regional body fat, others body mass index, others skinfold thickness, others resting metabolic rate, and still others a combination of these variables. At present, no

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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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