Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Nutr. 2002 Dec;132(12):3830S-3834S.

Biobehavioral influences on energy intake and adult weight gain.

Author information

  • 1Energy Metabolism Laboratory, The Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


U.S. adults are now gaining more weight and becoming obese at an earlier age than in previous years. The specific causes of adult weight gain are unknown, but may be attributed to a combination of factors leading to positive energy balance. U.S. food supply data indicate that Americans have had a gradual increase in energy intake since 1970, and that per capita energy intake was 1.42 MJ/d (340 kcal/d) higher in 1994 than that in 1984. In contrast, self-reported physical activity remained constant between 1990 and 1998. Taken together, these data indicate that the increasing trend in U.S. adult weight gain is primarily attributable to overconsumption of energy. Epidemiological and experimental studies in animals and humans provide strong evidence that biobehavioral factors such as dietary variety, liquid (vs. solid) energy, portion size, palatability (taste), snacking patterns, restaurant and other away-from-home food, and dietary restraint and disinhibition influence hunger, satiety and/or voluntary energy intake. When these eating behaviors are consistently experienced either separately or in combination over the long term, they are likely to facilitate overeating. We provide a brief overview of the evidence to date for the role of these biobehavioral factors in contributing to excess energy intake and increases in body weight over time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk