The social origins of obesity within and across generations
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We propose a model for obesity development that traces a considerable part of its origins to the social domain (mainly different forms of prolonged social adversity), both within and across generations, working in tandem with a genetic predisposition. To facilitate overview of social pathways, we place particular focus on three areas that form a cascading sequence: (A) social adversity within the family (parents having a low education, a low social position, poverty and financial insecurity; offspring being exposed to gestational stress, unmet social and emotional needs, abuse, maltreatment and other negative life events, social deprivation and relationship discord); (B) increasing levels of insecurity, negative emotions, chronic stress, and a disruption of energy homeostasis; and (C) weight gain and obesity, eliciting further social stress and weight stigma in both generations. Social adversity, when combined with genetic predisposition, thereby substantially contributes to highly effective transmission of obesity from parents to offspring, as well as to obesity development within current generations. Prevention efforts may benefit from mitigating multiple types of social adversity in individuals, families, and communities, notably poverty and financial strain, and by improving education levels.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
- chronic stress, genetics, social adversity, social transmission, weight stigma, BODY-MASS INDEX, ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES, INTERGENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION, SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS, POOLED ANALYSIS, ADULT OBESITY, STRESS, WEIGHT, RISK, ADOPTION