Energy balance and body fatness: full report released

Today we published the full findings from our report Diet, nutrition and physical activity: Energy balance and body fatness – the determinants of weight gain, overweight and obesity

7 November 2018

This report provides increased evidence that weight gain, overweight and obesity are not caused by any one single factor, but by patterns of factors which are often inter-related, such as sedentary behaviour and the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Here is some of the immediate reaction:

Dr Tim Lobstein, Policy Director for the World Obesity Federation: 

“World Obesity welcomes the publication of this report from World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Their global findings further support our understanding that although individual factors are important, we are more confident in the effects of whole patterns of diet and activity. Obesity is the result of a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors, and this report helps us to understand more of that complexity.

“By elucidating the drivers of weight gain, it is possible to develop public policy to create health-enabling environments for individuals and communities. The role of governments in this is critical.”

Prof Michael Leitzmann, from the University of Regensburg, and one of our Continuous Update Project (CUP) Panel members, said:

"The newly released WCRF/AICR report on energy balance and body fatness is fundamentally important because it provides the most comprehensive scientific review currently available on diet, nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in relation to the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity – one of the most demanding public health challenges of the 21st century."

Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead of the Obesity Health Alliance, said:

“Eating too much unhealthy food and drink, with sedentary lifestyles, contributes to overweight and obesity – this much is clear. We also know that when children spend time in front of screens, they are bombarded with junk food adverts. There’s a clear link between food promotion, what children eat and what they ask parents to buy. This new report highlights the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles and children’s exposure to advertising. We need a 9pm watershed on TV junk food marketing and similar restrictions online."

Annie Anderson, Co-Director of the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network and one of our Research Grant Panel members, said:

"Food matters, for health including cancer prevention, and for our body weight, and the food that we can access at affordable prices is a key determinant of weight gain. Having a sound evidence base to support avoidance of weight gain makes sense to support the implementation of policies that will create environments conducive to healthy choices. To make a difference, we need a society that will support equitable approaches for dietary change – our food supply has to be rebalanced in every setting, from retail, catering and leisure venues, to impact on our daily energy intakes.”

You can read the report in full for free here. Or visit our latest blog, which summarises the key findings.