Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Modeling US adult obesity trends: a system dynamics model for estimating energy imbalance gap

TitleModeling US adult obesity trends: a system dynamics model for estimating energy imbalance gap
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFallah-Fini, S, Rahmandad, H, Huang, TT, Bures, RM, Glass, TA
JournalAm J Public Health
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number0090-0036
Accession Number24832405
Keywords*Diet, *Models, Theoretical, Adult, Body Mass Index, Continental Population Groups, Energy Intake, Energy Metabolism, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Obesity/*epidemiology/ethnology, Sex Factors, United States/epidemiology

OBJECTIVES: We present a system dynamics model that quantifies the energy imbalance gap responsible for the US adult obesity epidemic among gender and racial subpopulations. METHODS: We divided the adult population into gender-race/ethnicity subpopulations and body mass index (BMI) classes. We defined transition rates between classes as a function of metabolic dynamics of individuals within each class. We estimated energy intake in each BMI class within the past 4 decades as a multiplication of the equilibrium energy intake of individuals in that class. Through calibration, we estimated the energy gap multiplier for each gender-race-BMI group by matching simulated BMI distributions for each subpopulation against national data with maximum likelihood estimation. RESULTS: No subpopulation showed a negative or zero energy gap, suggesting that the obesity epidemic continues to worsen, albeit at a slower rate. In the past decade the epidemic has slowed for non-Hispanic Whites, is starting to slow for non-Hispanic Blacks, but continues to accelerate among Mexican Americans. CONCLUSIONS: The differential energy balance gap across subpopulations and over time suggests that interventions should be tailored to subpopulations' needs.