Intended for healthcare professionals


Eating behaviour and obesity

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 21 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1926
  1. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, research fellow1,
  2. Karen J Campbell, public health research fellow2
  1. 1Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Vic 3125, Australia
  1. e.denney-wilson{at}

    Eating fast and until full trebles the risk

    In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.a2002), Maruyama and colleagues show a significant positive association between two eating behaviours (eating until full and eating quickly) and overweight in a large sample of Japanese adults.1 The study builds on evidence that eating behaviours are important in promoting positive energy balance (taking in more energy than is expended) and may contribute to the current epidemic of obesity. The drive to overconsume energy when it is available is probably an evolutionary imperative; however, until the last decade or so most adults did not have the opportunity to take in enough energy to enable fat to be stored.

    The ideal situation whereby our eating behaviours are controlled by biological regulatory systems that tightly regulate appetite and consumption and keep our weight in check—is being challenged. We do not know what drives us to …

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