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Review Article

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The Upstream Determinants of Adult Obesity

Lakerveld J. · Mackenbach J.

Author affiliations

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Corresponding Author

Dr. Jeroen Lakerveld

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

VU Medical Center

De Boelelaan 1089a, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

J.lakerveld@vumc.nl

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Obes Facts 2017;10:216-222

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Abstract

Over-consumption of high-energy foods and a lack of physical activity are the main behavioural risk factors for people to develop obesity. These behaviours are influenced by a range of individual-level factors which are nested within contexts that contain influencing characteristics further upstream. In this paper, we define these upstream determinants. We also provide a historical background, summarise the current evidence base regarding these determinants across various types of environments and put them in perspective.

© 2017 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg


References

  1. World Health Organization. Obesity and overweight. Factsheet. Updated June 2016. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/ (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  2. Patel SR, Hu FB: Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity 2008;16:643-653.
  3. Ayanian JZ, Block JP, He Y, Zaslavsky AM, Ding L: Psychosocial stress and change in weight among US adults. Am J Epidemiol 2009;170:181-192.
  4. Hu FB, Li TY, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE: Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA 2003;289:1785-1791.
  5. Swinburn B, Sacks G, Hall K, McPherson K, Finegood D, Moodie M, et al: The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet 2011;378:804-814.
  6. Cutler DM, Glaeser EL, Shapiro JM: Why have Americans become more obese? J Econ Perspect 2003;17:93-118.
    External Resources
  7. Schmidhauser S, Eichler K, Brugger U: Environmental Determinants of Overweight and Obesity: Extended International Literature Review. Bern, Federal Office of Public Health, 2009.
  8. Rose G: The Strategy of Preventive Medicine. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994.
  9. Ardell DB: High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease. Berkeley, Ten Speed Press, 1977.
  10. Kaplan GA, Everson SA, Lynch JW: The contribution of social and behavioral research to an understanding of the distribution of disease: a multilevel approach; in Smedley BD, Syme SL (eds): Promoting Health: Intervention Strategies from Social and Behavioral Research. Washington, National Academies Press, 2000, pp 37-80.
  11. Swinburn B, Egger G, Raza F: Dissecting obesogenic environments: the development and application of a framework for identifying and prioritizing environmental interventions for obesity. Prev Med 1999 ;29:563-570.
  12. Gehlert S, Sohmer D, Sacks T, Mininger C, McClintock M, Olopade O: Targeting health disparities: a model linking upstream determinants to downstream interventions. Health Aff 2008;27:339-349.
  13. Diez-Roux a V, Nieto FJ, Muntaner C, Tyroler HA, Comstock GW, Shahar E, et al: Neighborhood environments and coronary heart disease: a multilevel analysis. Am J Epidemiol 1997;146:48-63.
  14. Braveman PA, Egerter SA, Woolf SH, Marks JS: When do we know enough to recommend action on the social determinants of health? Am J Prev Med 2011;40(1 suppl 1):S58-66.
  15. Ludwig J, Sanbonmatsu L, Gennetian L, Adam E, Duncan GJ, Katz LF, et al: Neighborhoods, obesity, and diabetes - a randomized social experiment. N Engl J Med 2011;365:1509-1519.
  16. Tyresll J, Jones SE, Beaumont R, Astley CM, Lovell R, Yaghootkar H, et al: Height, body mass index, and socioeconomic status: Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank. BMJ 2016;352;i582.
  17. Booth KM, Pinkston MM, Poston WSC: Obesity and the built environment. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105(5 suppl 1):S110-S117.
  18. Papas MA, Alberg AJ, Ewing R, Helzlsouer KJ, Gary TL, Klassen AC: The built environment and obesity. Epidemiol Rev 2007;29:129-143.
  19. Feng J, Glass TA, Curriero FC, Stewart WF, Schwartz BS: The built environment and obesity: a systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Health Place 2010;16:175-190.
  20. Durand CP, Andalib M, Dunton GF, Wolch J, Pentz MA: A systematic review of built environment factors related to physical activity and obesity risk: implications for smart growth urban planning. Obes Rev 2011;12:e173-e182.
  21. Ding D, Gebel K: Built environment, physical activity, and obesity: what have we learned from reviewing the literature? Health Place 2012;18:100-105.
  22. Mackenbach JD, Rutter H, Compernolle S, Glonti K, Oppert J-M, Charreire H, et al: Obesogenic environments: a systematic review of the association between the physical environment and adult weight status, the SPOTLIGHT project. BMC Public Health 2014;14:233.
  23. Croucher K, Wallace A, Duffy S: The influence of land use mix, density and urban design on health: a critical literature review. 2012. www.gcph.co.uk/assets/0000/3519/Review_of_infleunce_of_land_use_mix_density_and_urban_design_on_health_final.pdf (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  24. Sobal J, Stunkard AJ: Socioeconomic status and obesity: a review of the literature. Psychol Bull 1989;105:260-275.
  25. Monteiro CA, Moura EC, Conde WL, Popkin BM: Socioeconomic status and obesity in adult populations of developing countries: a review. Bull World Health Organ 2004;82:940-946.
    External Resources
  26. Leal C, Chaix B: The influence of geographic life environments on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic review, a methodological assessment and a research agenda. Obes Rev 2011;12:217-230.
  27. Goldman N: Social inequalities in health: disentangling the underlying mechanisms. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2001;954:118-139.
  28. Christakis NA, Fowler JH: The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med 2007;357:370-379.
  29. Powell K, Wilcox J, Clonan A, Bissell P, Preston L, Peacock M, et al: The role of social networks in the development of overweight and obesity among adults: a scoping review. BMC Public Health 2015;15:996.
  30. Glonti K, Mackenbach J, Ng J, Lakerveld J, Opper J-M, Bardos H, et al: Psychosocial environment: definitions, measures and associations with weight status - a systematic review (the SPOTLIGHT project). Obes Rev 2016;17:96-107.
    External Resources
  31. Drewnowski A, Darmon N: The economics of obesity: dietary energy density and energy cost. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82(1 suppl):265S-273S.
    External Resources
  32. Rao M, Afshin A, Singh G, Mozaffarian D: Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2013;3:e004277.
  33. Kickbusch I: The political determinants of health - 10 years on. BMJ 2015;350:h81.
  34. Rabin BA, Boehmer TK, Brownson RC: Cross-national comparison of environmental and policy correlates of obesity in Europe. Eur J Public Health 2007;17:53-61.
  35. Roberto CA, Swinburn B, Hawkes C, Huang TTK, Costa SA, Ashe M, et al: Patchy progress on obesity prevention: emerging examples, entrenched barriers, and new thinking. Lancet 2015;385:2400-2409.
  36. Hamid TKA: Thinking in Circles About Obesity; Applying Systems Thinking to Weight Management. Heidelberg, Springer, 2009.
  37. Vandenbroeck P, Goossens J, Clemens M: Foresight, Tackling Obesities: Future Choices - Building the Obesity System Map. London, Government Office for Science, 2007 www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295154/07-1179-obesity-building-system-map.pdf (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  38. Rutter H, Glonti K, Lakerveld J: The way ahead: where next for research into obesogenic environments? Obes Rev 2016;17:108-109.
  39. Hu FB: Resolved: There is sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Obes Rev 2013;14:606-619.
  40. World Health Organization: Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases: Technical Meeting Report. 5-6 May 2015, Geneva, Switzerland, 2016. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/250131/1/9789241511247-eng.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  41. Rose G: Sick individuals and sick populations. Int J Epidemiol 1985;14:32-38.
    External Resources
  42. Manchanda R: The Upstream Doctors. TED Books, 2013.

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Review Article

Received: November 02, 2016
Accepted: March 09, 2017
Published online: June 01, 2017
Issue release date: June 2017

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1662-4025 (Print)
eISSN: 1662-4033 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/OFA

References

  1. World Health Organization. Obesity and overweight. Factsheet. Updated June 2016. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/ (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  2. Patel SR, Hu FB: Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity 2008;16:643-653.
  3. Ayanian JZ, Block JP, He Y, Zaslavsky AM, Ding L: Psychosocial stress and change in weight among US adults. Am J Epidemiol 2009;170:181-192.
  4. Hu FB, Li TY, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE: Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA 2003;289:1785-1791.
  5. Swinburn B, Sacks G, Hall K, McPherson K, Finegood D, Moodie M, et al: The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet 2011;378:804-814.
  6. Cutler DM, Glaeser EL, Shapiro JM: Why have Americans become more obese? J Econ Perspect 2003;17:93-118.
    External Resources
  7. Schmidhauser S, Eichler K, Brugger U: Environmental Determinants of Overweight and Obesity: Extended International Literature Review. Bern, Federal Office of Public Health, 2009.
  8. Rose G: The Strategy of Preventive Medicine. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994.
  9. Ardell DB: High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease. Berkeley, Ten Speed Press, 1977.
  10. Kaplan GA, Everson SA, Lynch JW: The contribution of social and behavioral research to an understanding of the distribution of disease: a multilevel approach; in Smedley BD, Syme SL (eds): Promoting Health: Intervention Strategies from Social and Behavioral Research. Washington, National Academies Press, 2000, pp 37-80.
  11. Swinburn B, Egger G, Raza F: Dissecting obesogenic environments: the development and application of a framework for identifying and prioritizing environmental interventions for obesity. Prev Med 1999 ;29:563-570.
  12. Gehlert S, Sohmer D, Sacks T, Mininger C, McClintock M, Olopade O: Targeting health disparities: a model linking upstream determinants to downstream interventions. Health Aff 2008;27:339-349.
  13. Diez-Roux a V, Nieto FJ, Muntaner C, Tyroler HA, Comstock GW, Shahar E, et al: Neighborhood environments and coronary heart disease: a multilevel analysis. Am J Epidemiol 1997;146:48-63.
  14. Braveman PA, Egerter SA, Woolf SH, Marks JS: When do we know enough to recommend action on the social determinants of health? Am J Prev Med 2011;40(1 suppl 1):S58-66.
  15. Ludwig J, Sanbonmatsu L, Gennetian L, Adam E, Duncan GJ, Katz LF, et al: Neighborhoods, obesity, and diabetes - a randomized social experiment. N Engl J Med 2011;365:1509-1519.
  16. Tyresll J, Jones SE, Beaumont R, Astley CM, Lovell R, Yaghootkar H, et al: Height, body mass index, and socioeconomic status: Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank. BMJ 2016;352;i582.
  17. Booth KM, Pinkston MM, Poston WSC: Obesity and the built environment. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105(5 suppl 1):S110-S117.
  18. Papas MA, Alberg AJ, Ewing R, Helzlsouer KJ, Gary TL, Klassen AC: The built environment and obesity. Epidemiol Rev 2007;29:129-143.
  19. Feng J, Glass TA, Curriero FC, Stewart WF, Schwartz BS: The built environment and obesity: a systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Health Place 2010;16:175-190.
  20. Durand CP, Andalib M, Dunton GF, Wolch J, Pentz MA: A systematic review of built environment factors related to physical activity and obesity risk: implications for smart growth urban planning. Obes Rev 2011;12:e173-e182.
  21. Ding D, Gebel K: Built environment, physical activity, and obesity: what have we learned from reviewing the literature? Health Place 2012;18:100-105.
  22. Mackenbach JD, Rutter H, Compernolle S, Glonti K, Oppert J-M, Charreire H, et al: Obesogenic environments: a systematic review of the association between the physical environment and adult weight status, the SPOTLIGHT project. BMC Public Health 2014;14:233.
  23. Croucher K, Wallace A, Duffy S: The influence of land use mix, density and urban design on health: a critical literature review. 2012. www.gcph.co.uk/assets/0000/3519/Review_of_infleunce_of_land_use_mix_density_and_urban_design_on_health_final.pdf (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  24. Sobal J, Stunkard AJ: Socioeconomic status and obesity: a review of the literature. Psychol Bull 1989;105:260-275.
  25. Monteiro CA, Moura EC, Conde WL, Popkin BM: Socioeconomic status and obesity in adult populations of developing countries: a review. Bull World Health Organ 2004;82:940-946.
    External Resources
  26. Leal C, Chaix B: The influence of geographic life environments on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic review, a methodological assessment and a research agenda. Obes Rev 2011;12:217-230.
  27. Goldman N: Social inequalities in health: disentangling the underlying mechanisms. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2001;954:118-139.
  28. Christakis NA, Fowler JH: The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med 2007;357:370-379.
  29. Powell K, Wilcox J, Clonan A, Bissell P, Preston L, Peacock M, et al: The role of social networks in the development of overweight and obesity among adults: a scoping review. BMC Public Health 2015;15:996.
  30. Glonti K, Mackenbach J, Ng J, Lakerveld J, Opper J-M, Bardos H, et al: Psychosocial environment: definitions, measures and associations with weight status - a systematic review (the SPOTLIGHT project). Obes Rev 2016;17:96-107.
    External Resources
  31. Drewnowski A, Darmon N: The economics of obesity: dietary energy density and energy cost. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82(1 suppl):265S-273S.
    External Resources
  32. Rao M, Afshin A, Singh G, Mozaffarian D: Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2013;3:e004277.
  33. Kickbusch I: The political determinants of health - 10 years on. BMJ 2015;350:h81.
  34. Rabin BA, Boehmer TK, Brownson RC: Cross-national comparison of environmental and policy correlates of obesity in Europe. Eur J Public Health 2007;17:53-61.
  35. Roberto CA, Swinburn B, Hawkes C, Huang TTK, Costa SA, Ashe M, et al: Patchy progress on obesity prevention: emerging examples, entrenched barriers, and new thinking. Lancet 2015;385:2400-2409.
  36. Hamid TKA: Thinking in Circles About Obesity; Applying Systems Thinking to Weight Management. Heidelberg, Springer, 2009.
  37. Vandenbroeck P, Goossens J, Clemens M: Foresight, Tackling Obesities: Future Choices - Building the Obesity System Map. London, Government Office for Science, 2007 www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295154/07-1179-obesity-building-system-map.pdf (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  38. Rutter H, Glonti K, Lakerveld J: The way ahead: where next for research into obesogenic environments? Obes Rev 2016;17:108-109.
  39. Hu FB: Resolved: There is sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Obes Rev 2013;14:606-619.
  40. World Health Organization: Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases: Technical Meeting Report. 5-6 May 2015, Geneva, Switzerland, 2016. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/250131/1/9789241511247-eng.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed May 19, 2017).
  41. Rose G: Sick individuals and sick populations. Int J Epidemiol 1985;14:32-38.
    External Resources
  42. Manchanda R: The Upstream Doctors. TED Books, 2013.

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