Overweight individuals more susceptible to risk factors for further weight gain

November 23, 2011

Some risk factors for obesity become stronger the more overweight a person is, according to a study published Nov. 23 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Paul Williams of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California found that certain – lower education level, parental obesity, and high meat/low fruit diets – produced a greater risk for excess body weight for subjects with a higher body mass index (BMI) than for those with lower BMI.

Based on these results, Williams proposes that environmental factors that result in little to no weight gain for lean individuals may have a much more pronounced effect for those who already have a high BMI, and this effect may help explain the recent large increases in obesity in many western societies.

Dr. Williams postulates that we have been witnessing is a positive feedback where as people gain weight they become more susceptible to obesity risk factors, which causes them to gain even more weight and become even more susceptible.

Explore further: Lifetime 'dose' of excess weight linked to risk of diabetes

More information: Williams PT (2011) Evidence That Obesity Risk Factor Potencies Are Weight Dependent, a Phenomenon That May Explain Accelerated Weight Gain in Western Societies. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27657. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027657

Related Stories

Lifetime 'dose' of excess weight linked to risk of diabetes

September 6, 2011
Obesity is a known risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. But it hasn't been clear whether the "dose" of obesity—how much excess weight a person has, and for how long—affects the risk of diabetes.

Recommended for you

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

July 19, 2017
An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

July 18, 2017
The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, ...

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

July 18, 2017
Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared ...

Study finds children carry implicit bias towards peers who are overweight

June 23, 2017
Even children as young as 9 years old can carry a prejudice against their peers who are overweight, according to a new study led by Duke Health researchers. They might not even realize they feel this way.

Mother's obesity boosts risk for major birth defects: study

June 15, 2017
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published on Thursday.

New study finds more than 2 billion people overweight or obese

June 12, 2017
Globally, more than 2 billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions, according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.