Chapter 2. Epidemiology and Social Impact of Obesity

  1. Gareth Williams6 and
  2. Gema Frühbeck7
  1. Neville Rigby1,
  2. Rachel Leach2,
  3. Tim Lobstein3,
  4. Rachel Huxley4 and
  5. Shiriki Kumanyika5

Published Online: 28 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470712221.ch2

Obesity: Science to Practice

Obesity: Science to Practice

How to Cite

Rigby, N., Leach, R., Lobstein, T., Huxley, R. and Kumanyika, S. (2009) Epidemiology and Social Impact of Obesity, in Obesity: Science to Practice (eds G. Williams and G. Frühbeck), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470712221.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 6

    Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

  2. 7

    Department of Endocrinology, Clínica Universitaria, de Navarra, Avda. Pío XII, 36, 31008 - Pamplona, Spain

Author Information

  1. 1

    (Formerly), IASO, 231 North Gower Street, London NW1 2NR, UK

  2. 2

    IASO, 231 North Gower Street, London, NW1 2NR, UK

  3. 3

    The Food Commission, 94 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF, UK

  4. 4

    Nutrition and Lifestyle Division, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

  5. 5

    Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 27 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470019115

Online ISBN: 9780470712221



  • epidemiology and social impact of obesity;
  • epidemiological surveys – shows the mean weight of increasing population;
  • centers for disease control and prevention (CDC);
  • behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS);
  • European health examination survey (EHES) – introduces objective measures of height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • NHANES data – provides vivid comparisons between genders, ethnic and age groups;
  • obesogenic factors – contributes to the rising prevalence of obesity;
  • socio-economic status and educational status – inversely related to the prevalence of obesity;
  • wide range of chronic diseases – gall-bladder disease, fatty liver, sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Definitions of obesity

  • Current and recent prevalences of obesity

  • Childhood obesity

  • Predicted increases in obesity in adults

  • Comorbidities of obesity

  • Costs of obesity to society

  • Conclusions

  • References