Nation's Weight Gain Attributed to Excess Food, Not Lack of Exercise

The Physicians Committee

Nation's Weight Gain Attributed to Excess Food, Not Lack of Exercise

June 2, 2009

In a paper presented at the European Congress on Obesity last month, researchers concluded that weight gain in the United States over the past 30 years can be attributed almost entirely to calorie intake, as opposed to lack of physical activity. Scientists looked at data from previous large food and activity surveys and concluded that physical activity has changed little in recent decades whereas calorie intake has increased significantly, accounting for virtually all the observed weight gain. A related paper appears in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increased energy intake alone virtually explains all the increase in body weight in the United States from the 1970s to the 2000s. Report presented at: European Congress on Obesity; May 8, 2009. Obesity Facts. 2009;2(suppl 2):6.

Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Lo SK, et al. Estimating the changes in energy flux that characterize the rise in obesity prevalence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1723-1728.

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