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.
Published: June 2016
ID #: 1093
Publisher: Healthy Eating Research
Authors: Hall KD, Gortmaker S, Lott M, Wang YC
Understanding the social safety net’s impact on food security to inform policy on how best to support children in low-income familiesBy providing resources to low-income families with children, the safety net has the potential to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition. Understanding how much, how, and for whom the safety net impacts food security is a critical input into active policy discussions about the best way to support children in low-income families. The project will More