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Obesity: exploring the causes, consequences and solutions

The World Health Organization estimates that levels of obesity worldwide have doubled since 1980, and in 2012 more than 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese. The rising incidence of obesity poses a great burden on healthcare systems, as excess body weight is believed to be the driver of many non-communicable diseases, namely type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

To tackle what is, in most cases a preventable condition, there has been increased focus on introducing initiatives to aid long-term weight loss. These range from improving patient and healthcare provider education to policy reform regarding the sale of pre-packaged and processed foods. While lifestyle interventions, bariatric surgery and pharmacotherapy are being offered as ways to treat and manage obese patients, translational and clinical researchers are also trying to dissect the mechanisms behind the causes and effects of obesity.

This article collection in BMC Medicine aims to explore the main contributing factors and possible solutions to tackle the obesity crisis. We are seeking submissions of articles covering all areas of obesity research, including clinical studies of new therapies and interventions, and translational advances that contribute to understanding the causes of obesity.

  1. Opinion

    Obesity and male breast cancer: provocative parallels?

    While rare compared to female breast cancer the incidence of male breast cancer (MBC) has increased in the last few decades. Without comprehensive epidemiological studies, the explanation for the increased inc...

    Matthew P. Humphries, V. Craig Jordan and Valerie Speirs

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:134

    Published on: 4 June 2015

  2. Research article

    Body mass index and outcome in renal transplant recipients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Whether overweight or obese end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients are suitable for renal transplantation (RT) is often debated. The objective of this review and meta-analysis was to systematically investigat...

    Jeffrey A Lafranca, Jan NM IJermans, Michiel GH Betjes and Frank JMF Dor

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:111

    Published on: 12 May 2015

    The Erratum to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2015 13:141

  3. Research article

    A genetic risk score combining 32 SNPs is associated with body mass index and improves obesity prediction in people with major depressive disorder

    Obesity is strongly associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and various other diseases. Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple risk loci robustly associated with body mass index (BMI)...

    Chi-Fa Hung, Gerome Breen, Darina Czamara, Tanguy Corre, Christiane Wolf, Stefan Kloiber, Sven Bergmann, Nick Craddock, Michael Gill, Florian Holsboer, Lisa Jones, Ian Jones, Ania Korszun, Zoltan Kutalik, Susanne Lucae, Wolfgang Maier…

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:86

    Published on: 17 April 2015

  4. Research article

    Successful behavior change in obesity interventions in adults: a systematic review of self-regulation mediators

    Relapse is high in lifestyle obesity interventions involving behavior and weight change. Identifying mediators of successful outcomes in these interventions is critical to improve effectiveness and to guide ap...

    Pedro J Teixeira, Eliana V Carraça, Marta M Marques, Harry Rutter, Jean-Michel Oppert, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Jeroen Lakerveld and Johannes Brug

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:84

    Published on: 16 April 2015

  5. Research article

    Multi-omic signature of body weight change: results from a population-based cohort study

    Excess body weight is a major risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases. The complex molecular mechanisms of body weight change-induced metabolic perturbations are not fully understood. Specifically, in-depth m...

    Simone Wahl, Susanne Vogt, Ferdinand Stückler, Jan Krumsiek, Jörg Bartel, Tim Kacprowski, Katharina Schramm, Maren Carstensen, Wolfgang Rathmann, Michael Roden, Carolin Jourdan, Antti J Kangas, Pasi Soininen, Mika Ala-Korpela, Ute Nöthlings, Heiner Boeing…

    BMC Medicine 2015 13:48

    Published on: 9 March 2015

  6. Research article

    FTOrs9939609 polymorphism is associated with metabolic disturbances and response to HCV therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients

    The Fat Mass and Obesity-Associated Protein (FTO) gene rs9939609 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance (IR), and type 2 diabetes mellitus in...

    Daniel Pineda-Tenor, Juan Berenguer, María A Jiménez-Sousa, Mónica García-Alvarez, Teresa Aldámiz-Echevarria, Ana Carrero, Sonia Vázquez-Morón, Pilar García-Broncano, Cristina Diez, Francisco Tejerina, María Guzmán-Fulgencio and Salvador Resino

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:198

    Published on: 3 November 2014

  7. Research article

    Weight loss required by the severely obese to achieve clinically important differences in health-related quality of life: two-year prospective cohort study

    Guidelines and experts describe 5% to 10% reductions in body weight as `clinically important’; however, it is not clear if 5% to 10% weight reductions correspond to clinically important improvements in health-...

    Lindsey M Warkentin, Sumit R Majumdar, Jeffrey A Johnson, Calypse B Agborsangaya, Christian F Rueda-Clausen, Arya M Sharma, Scott W Klarenbach, Shahzeer Karmali, Daniel W Birch and Raj S Padwal

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:175

    Published on: 15 October 2014

  8. Research article

    The effects of antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese on neonatal health outcomes: the LIMIT randomised trial

    Overweight and obesity during pregnancy represents a considerable health burden. While research has focused on interventions to limit gestational weight gain, there is little information describing their impac...

    Jodie M Dodd, Andrew J McPhee, Deborah Turnbull, Lisa N Yelland, Andrea R Deussen, Rosalie M Grivell, Caroline A Crowther, Gary Wittert, Julie A Owens and Jeffrey S Robinson

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:163

    Published on: 13 October 2014

  9. Research article

    The effects of antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese on maternal diet and physical activity: the LIMIT randomised trial

    Overweight and obesity is a significant health concern during pregnancy. Our aim was to investigate the effect of providing antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice to women who are overweight or obese on compon...

    Jodie M Dodd, Courtney Cramp, Zhixian Sui, Lisa N Yelland, Andrea R Deussen, Rosalie M Grivell, Lisa J Moran, Caroline A Crowther, Deborah Turnbull, Andrew J McPhee, Gary Wittert, Julie A Owens and Jeffrey S Robinson

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:161

    Published on: 13 October 2014

  10. Commentary

    Obesity in pregnancy: could lifestyle interventions work?

    The increased prevalence of obesity has led to major health care issues in obstetric practice. Nevertheless, despite a major international effort, there is little evidence for interventions which can improve c...

    Lucilla Poston

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:201

    Published on: 13 October 2014

  11. Research article

    Novel equation to determine the hepatic triglyceride concentration in humans by MRI: diagnosis and monitoring of NAFLD in obese patients before and after bariatric surgery

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is caused by abnormal accumulation of lipids within liver cells. Its prevalence is increasing in developed countries in association with obesity, and it represents a r...

    Raúl Jiménez-Agüero, José I Emparanza, Adolfo Beguiristain, Luis Bujanda, José M Alustiza, Elisabeth García, Elizabeth Hijona, Lander Gallego, Javier Sánchez-González, María J Perugorria, José I Asensio, Santiago Larburu, Maddi Garmendia, Mikel Larzabal, María P Portillo, Leixuri Aguirre…

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:137

    Published on: 26 August 2014

  12. Review

    Update on the NCEP ATP-III emerging cardiometabolic risk factors

    The intent of this review is to update the science of emerging cardiometabolic risk factors that were listed in the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel-III (ATP-III) report of 2001...

    Robert H Eckel and Marc-Andre Cornier

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:115

    Published on: 26 August 2014

  13. Editorial

    Obscurity on Obesity

    Much research is underway on the links between diet and obesity. So too are long-running disputes among nutritionists on core questions about the relationship. This editorial reviews the state-of-play on four ...

    Jack Winkler

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:114

    Published on: 26 August 2014

  14. Opinion

    Type 2 diabetes as a disease of ectopic fat?

    Although obesity and diabetes commonly co-exist, the evidence base to support obesity as the major driver of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and the mechanisms by which this occurs, are now better appreciated.

    Naveed Sattar and Jason MR Gill

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:123

    Published on: 26 August 2014

  15. Research article

    Effects of palmitate on genome-wide mRNA expression and DNA methylation patterns in human pancreatic islets

    Circulating free fatty acids are often elevated in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obese individuals. Chronic exposure to high levels of saturated fatty acids has detrimental effects on islet function ...

    Elin Hall, Petr Volkov, Tasnim Dayeh, Karl Bacos, Tina Rönn, Marloes Dekker Nitert and Charlotte Ling

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:103

    Published on: 23 June 2014

  16. Commentary

    The impact of excess body weight at the hospital frontline

    Quantification of disease burden by deaths or years lived with disability is a useful indicator as it informs prevention by accounting for health loss but it does not reflect the needs for health services. An ...

    Andrew G Renehan and Iain E Buchan

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:64

    Published on: 17 April 2014

  17. Research article

    Obesity survival paradox in pneumonia: a meta-analysis

    It is unclear whether an ‘obesity survival paradox’ exists for pneumonia. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to assess the associations between increased body mass index (BMI), pneumonia risk, and mortali...

    Wei Nie, Yi Zhang, Sun Ha Jee, Keum Ji Jung, Bing Li and Qingyu Xiu

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:61

    Published on: 10 April 2014

  18. Commentary

    Unexpected plateauing of childhood obesity rates in developed countries

    Surveys performed in the past 10 to 15 years show a yet unexplained stabilization or decline in prevalence rates of childhood obesity in developed countries. The projected continuous increase in obesity preval...

    Martin Wabitsch, Anja Moss and Katrin Kromeyer-Hauschild

    BMC Medicine 2014 12:17

    Published on: 31 January 2014