Globesity: the root causes of the obesity epidemic in the USA and now worldwide.

The epidemic of obesity is a well-known phenomenon affecting the world population. This pandemic has occurred since the 1980’s with increasing frequency, despite multiple attempts and recommendations to mitigate the prevalence of obesity and its co-morbidities. The causes of obesity have been recognized and are largely related to a genetic predisposition and an environmental susceptibility to gain weight due to increased energy intake and reduced energy expenditures. Furthermore, various structural environmental changes that have occurred since the 1980’s have created an obesogenic environment with abundance of high-caloric density, low-quality food and under activity. All of this leads to increased body weight gain and a global public health problem–not only a distinct patient’s disease that generally fails to respond to diets and/or increased activity. The structural environmental changes resulted from the unintended consequences of laws that created unregulated marketing and advertisements, food subsidies to a “food industrial complex” which manufactures obesogenic foods that foster addiction to its foodstuffs. Additionally, the economic policies implemented over the last 3 to 4 decades have produced a stagnation of income and wages for the preponderance of the population with major wealth disparities between the majority of people versus the top of the socioeconomic group. The current economic realities have resulted in altered family dynamics, eating habits, and food availability compared to previous generations. The root causes of the epidemic of obesity are governmental policies and the food industry which make obesity difficult to escape in the US and now worldwide.



Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2014 Sep;12(1):17-34.

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