The Putative 104 Causes of Obesity Update

October 22nd, 2015 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

What causes obesity? The question has profound implications for individuals and policy makers. So, it is natural to turn to research published in peer-reviewed journals to find the answer. So, we have updated the list of “putative” causes first published on February 28, 2013 and  updated on September 1, 2013. We have moved from 82 putative causes to 104.

The number of putative causes raises several questions. First, is there some problem with the research methodology that so many and diverse potential causes are identified? Second, are a number of named putative causes symptoms or manifestations of underlying, deeper causes? And what are those? Third, to what extent are identified putative causes reflections of local, regional, ethnic or cultural factors. Finally, many of these studies point out that the “energy-in-energy-out” formulation for the cause of obesity which most of the public and health professionals believe to be the cause.

New items on the list include too much homework, insufficient body heat, imagining the smell of food, components of dust, living with grandparents, thermogenic adipocytes, estrogens and starting college.

Here’s the most current list. If I am missing any, please let me know. (The links are not meant to be definitive or best study but merely a demonstration of the interest in the particular cause.)

1. agricultural policies

2. air conditioning,

3. air pollution,

4. antibiotic usage at early age,

5. arcea nut chewing,

6. artificial sweeteners,

7.  Asian tiger mosquitos,

8. assortative mating,

9. being a single mother,

10. birth by C-section,

11. built environment,

12. celebrity chefs,

13. chemical toxins, (endocrine disruptors)

14. child maltreatment,

15. compulsive buying,

16. competitive food sales in schools,

17. consuming skim milk in preschool children,

18. consumption of pastries and chocolate (in Burkina Faso),

19. decline in occupational physical activity,

20. delayed prenatal care,

21. delayed satiety,

22. depression

23. driving children to school

24. eating away from home

25. economic development (nutrition transition)

26. entering into a romantic relationship,

27. epigenetic factors,

28. eradication of Helicobacter pylori,

29. family conflict,

30. family divorce,

31. first-born in family,

32. food addiction,

33. food deserts,

34. food insecurity,

35. food marketing to  children,

36. food overproduction,

37. friends,

38. genetics,

39. gestational diabetes,

40. global food system,(international trade policies)

41. grilled foods,

42. gut microbioata,

43. having children, for women,

44.  heavy alcohol consumption,

45.  home labor saving devices,

46. hormones (insulin,glucagon,ghrelin),

47. hunger-response to food cues,

48. high fructose corn syrup,

49. interpersonal violence,

50. lack of family meals,

51. lack of nutritional education,

52. lack of self-control,

53. large portion sizes,

54.  living in crime-prone areas,

55. low educational levels for women,

56. low levels of physical activity,

57. low Vitamin D levels,

58.  low socioeconomic status,

59. market economy,

60. marrying in later life

61. maternal employment,

62. maternal obesity,

63. maternal over-nutrition during pregnancy,

64. maternal smoking,

65. meat consumption,

66. menopause,

67. mental disabilities,

68. no or short term breastfeeding,

69. non-parental childcare

70. outdoor advertising,

71. overeating,

72. participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program)

73. perceived weight discrimination,

74. perception of neighborhood safety,

75. physical disabilities,

76. prenatal  maternal exposure to natural disasters,

77. poor emotional coping

78. sleep deficits,

79. skipping breakfast,

80. snacking,

81. smoking cessation,

82. spanking children,

83. stair design

84. stress, artificial lighting, air conditioning,

85.  sugar-sweetened beverages,

86. taste for fat

87.  trans fats,

88. transportation by car,

89. television set in bedrooms

90. television viewing,

91. thyroid dysfunction

92. vending machines,

93. virus,

94. weight gain inducing drugs,

95. working long hours,

96. NEW too much homework,

97. NEW insufficient body heat,

98. NEW imagining the smell of food,

99. NEW dust components,

100. NEW living with grandparents in China,

101. NEW estrogens,

102. NEW thermogenic adipocytes,

103. NEW prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke,

104. NEW starting college.