Excess weight gain occurs when more calories are consumed than expended over a long period of time. Accurate translation between changes in calories and changes in weight is important for setting goals and for evaluating interventions at both the individual and population levels. For years, a simple rule of thumb has been used for predicting weight change: 3,500 calories equals one pound of body weight change. However, emerging research demonstrates that the math is not that straightforward, and the 3,500-calorie rule will create overly optimistic predictions of weight loss, oftentimes being in error by many fold. This brief presents new mathematical models that can be used to calculate the impact of calories on body weight in both adults and children, and several useful rules of thumb that can estimate changes at the population level. These models suggest that the obesity epidemic was driven by much larger changes in calorie intake than previously believed and will require aggressive strategies to reverse.
From Calories to Weight Change in Children and Adults: The State of the Science
One of the most pressing unmet challenges for preventing and controlling epidemic obesity is ensuring that socially disadvantaged populations benefit from relevant public health interventions. Obesity levels are disproportionately high in ethnic minority, low-income, and other socially marginalized U.S. population groups. Current policy, systems, and environmental change interventions target obesity-promoting … More
The first 1,000 days, or the period from conception through age 2, is increasingly recognized as a critical period for the development of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences. This issue brief is based on two review papers that examined evidence on risk factors for developing childhood obesity and interventions … More
In this systematic review, investigators expand on previous reviews of obesity prevention interventions by including recent studies from all parts of the world. School-based interventions with combined diet and physical activity components and a home element had greatest effectiveness; evidence in support of the effect of preschool-based, community-based, and home-based … More