The new reality is captured by a single, stark fact: Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight. At the same time, scientists say, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods is generating a new type of malnutrition, one in which a growing number of people are both overweight and undernourished ... The prevalence of obesity has doubled in 73 countries since 1980, contributing to four million premature deaths

a year after Berkeley’s soda tax took effect in 2015, the city saw a nearly 10 percent drop in purchases of sugary drinks and a nearly 16 percent increase in sales of bottled water ... Last year, voters approved a similar soda tax in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., as well as in Boulder, Colo., Cook County, Ill., and Philadelphia. Santa Fe, N.M., and Seattle are considering soda taxes.

in the late 1970s there was a particularly strong relationship between income and obesity. Today, the relationship is weaker, with obesity rates among the middle-income group nearly the same as for the low-income group ... Those with higher incomes are less likely to be obese, though it is striking that high-income individuals are now approximately 50 percent more likely to be obese than low-income individuals were in the late 1970s

While the federal government recommends that people fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables to help prevent obesity, only a small fraction of its subsidies actually support the production of fresh produce. The vast majority of agricultural subsidies go instead to commodity crops that are processed into many of the foods that are linked to the obesity crisis.

Although genes are not modifiable, the weight of the mother before and during pregnancy is. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy predicts not just the baby’s birth weight but also the likelihood of obesity in middle childhood ... The father’s weight is also turning out to be important ... Being heavy alters DNA in the father’s sperm that changes gene expression and can be passed down to the next generation

Do our current front-of-the-package labels, which only state calories, allow consumers to “make informed choices that are right for them? ... Britain has traffic-light labeling, but because of industry opposition, it’s only voluntary ... Ecuador is the only country where the labels are mandatory ... the labels have a strong effect on consumer behavior; consumers in 31 percent of households surveyed said they had stopped buying certain products because of the stoplight, most often soft drinks.

The World Health Organisation held the first meeting of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity in 2014, recognising the link between obesity while young and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease in adult life. The number of children aged 0-5 years-old who were overweight rose by a third worldwide between 1990-2013. This is forecast to soar by another 70% by 2025 if nothing is done

no two people are identical. Differences in height, body fat, liver size, levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and other factors influence the energy required to maintain the body’s basic functions. Between two people of the same sex, weight, and age, this number may differ by up to 600 calories a day—over a quarter of the recommended intake for a moderately active woman. Even something as seemingly insignificant as the time at which we eat may affect how we process energy.

there is a link between a disruption in circadian rhythm and known metabolic risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases ... This link arises because disruptions in circadian rhythm muck up our microbiome, bacteria in our gut that help us digest our food. Beyond diet, they may also be affected by our mealtimes. A disturbed host’s clock disrupts the microbes’ 24-hour rhythm—reflected in their composition and overall function

if you explicitly try to reduce calories, you’re likely to do the exact opposite. Almost everyone who tries to diet goes through that battle of the bulge. Diets cause the psychological struggle that causes weight gain ... People tend to judge how much they’ve eaten partly by how full they feel afterward. But since that feeling of fullness is partly psychological, if your hunger mood is up, you might eat more than usual, feel less full than usual, and so mistakenly think that you’ve cut back.