Today’s food environments exploit people’s biological, psychological, social, and economic vulnerabilities, making it easier for them to eat unhealthy foods. This reinforces preferences and demands for foods of poor nutritional quality. This second series from The Lancet reviews reasons for patchy progress, challenges entrenched dichotomies, and proposes a reframing of the obesity issue.
The series – led by National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) members and NCCOR Envision project contributors – critically examines what we know about the global obesity pandemic: its drivers, the economic and health burden, the physiology behind weight control and maintenance, and what science tells us about the kind of actions that are needed to change our obesogenic environment.
The theme issue highlights the latest obesity research using systems science approaches—computation and mathematical modeling techniques and network analysis. Research contributions of several NCCOR Envision members are highlighted within the theme issue, including a microsimulation to help estimate missing data on childhood obesity in a large national dataset, and a system dynamics model to quantify the energy imbalance gap responsible for the U.S. adult obesity epidemic among different gender/racial subpopulations.