Biological Factors in Obesity

  • William S. Rea
  • Irl L. Extein


Obesity is an extremely common disorder in many societies—both industrial and preindustrial. Like many other pathological conditions, obesity results from a combination of biological, psychological/behavioral, behavioral, and social factors. It is at times very difficult to separate physical findings that are a complication of obesity, rather than a biological factor underlying it. In this chapter, we deal only with biological factors that may contribute to obesity, leaving the issue of complications to others.

If we view obesity as an interaction between host and environmental factors, it seems natural to look at the host factors most likely to lead to increase in weight. Among these areas, much research has been done in the fields of genetics, in the essential biochemistry and neuroanatomy of feeding and satiety, in the early life growth of adipose tissue, and in endocrine interactions with weight and appetite regulation. We shall examine each of these areas in turn.


Eating Disorder Brown Adipose Tissue Obese Mouse Acanthosis Nigricans Pituitary Apoplexy 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Rea
  • Irl L. Extein

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