News Release 

Obesity embargo alert for January 2020

The Obesity Society

All print, broadcast and online journalists who receive the Obesity embargo alert agree to abide by the embargo and may not publish, post, broadcast or distribute details of the embargoed studies before the embargo date and time.

When writing about these studies, journalists are asked to attribute the source as the journal Obesity and to include the online link to the Obesity articles as provided below. Links become active when articles post at 3:00 a.m. (EST) on Dec. 20, 2019.

About the journal - Obesity is the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of The Obesity Society.

Editors' Choice 1 - Special Section: Latest Research on Built Environment Interactions, including:

Embargoed Commentary, The Varying Effects of the Food, Built, and Socioeconomic Environment on BMI, Tony Kuo,


Invited Review, Obesity and the Built Environment: A Reappraisal, Adam Drewnowski, James Buszkiewicz,, Anju Aggarwal, Chelsea Rose, Shilpi Gupta, and Annie Bradshaw

(already online

Five Original Articles

Impact of Changes in the Food, Built, and Socioeconomic Environment on BMI in US Counties,

BRFSS 2003-2012, Pasquale E. Rummo, Justin M. Feldman, Priscilla Lopez, David Lee, Lorna E. Thorpe, and Brian Elbel,

(already online

The Local Food Environment and Obesity: Evidence from Three Cities

Blake Byron Walker, Aateka Shashank, Danijela Gasevic, Nadine Schuurman, Paul Poirier, Koon Teo, Sumathy Rangarajan, Salim Yusuf, and Scott A. Lear,

(already online

Neighborhood Walkability and BMI Change: A National Study of Veterans in Large Urban Areas, Elizabeth Tarlov,, Abigail Silva, Coady Wing, Sandy Slater, Stephen A. Matthews, Kelly K. Jones, and Shannon N. Zenk

(already online

Association of Food Access, Recreational Opportunities, and Natural Amenities with Engagement in the Veterans MOVE! Weight Management Program, Laura A. Graham,, Emily B. Malone, Joshua S. Richman, April P. Carson, Olivia Affuso, Sara J. Knight, and Emily B. Levitan

(embargoed to Dec. 20,

Childhood Obesity and the Food Environment: A Population-Based Sample of Public School Children in New York City, Brian Elbel,, Kosuke Tamura, Zachary T. McDermott, Erilia Wu, and Amy Ellen Schwartz

(already online

Editors' Choice 2 - Measuring the Carbon Footprint of the Planet's Obesity Epidemic, Faidon Magkos,, Inge Tetens, Susanne Gjedsted Bügel, Claus Felby, Simon Rønnow Schacht, James O. Hill,

Eric Ravussin, and Arne Astrup


Also see accompanying Commentary by Boyd Swinburn (

Editors' Choice 3 - Intrauterine Environment and Autonomic System Programming, Haliza Mat Husin, Franziska Schleger, Ilena Bauer, Ellen Fehlert, Isabelle Kiefer-Schmidt, Magdalene Weiss, Karl Oliver Kagan, Sara Brucker, Jan Pauluschke-Fröhlich, Hari Eswaran, Hans-Ulrich Häring, Andreas Fritsche, and Hubert Preissl,


Editors' Choice 4 - Role of Exposure to Stressors in Racial Disparities in BMI, Adolfo G. Cuevas,, Ruijia Chen, Natalie Slopen, Katherine A. Thurber, Norbert Wilson, Christina Economos, and David R. Williams



Weight History in Clinical Practice: The State of the Science and Future Directions, from The Obesity Society Clinical Committee, Robert F. Kushner,, John A. Batsis, W. Scott Butsch, Nicola Davis, Angela Golden, Florencia Halperin, Srividya Kidambi, Sriram Machineni, Marsha Novick, Ava Port, Domenica M. Rubino, Katherine H. Saunders, Linda Shapiro Manning, Taraneh Soleymani, and Scott Kahan (

Also see accompanying Commentary by Michelle Look (

Scroll down to find abstracts for each of the above papers. To request the full text of any of these studies and agree to the embargo policy, or to arrange an interview with a study's author or an obesity expert, please contact

Editors' Choice Abstracts

Editors' Choice 1 - Special Section: Obesity--Environment Interactions

Please email Managing Editor Allison Templet,, for papers listed above.

Editors' Choice 2 - The Environmental Foodprint of Obesity

Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are linked to global warming and adverse climate changes. Meeting the needs of the increasing number of people on the planet presents a challenge for reducing total GHG burden. A further challenge may be the size of the average person on the planet and the increasing number of people with excess body weight. We used data on GHG emissions from various sources and estimated that obesity is associated with ~20% greater GHG emissions compared with the normal-weight state. On a global scale, obesity contributes to an extra GHG emissions of ~49 megatons per year of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) from oxidative metabolism due to greater metabolic demands, ~361 megatons per year of CO2eq from food production processes due to increased food intake, and ~290 megatons per year of CO2eq from automobile and air transportation due to greater body weight. Therefore, the total impact of obesity may be extra emissions of ~700 megatons per year of CO2eq, which is about 1.6% of worldwide GHG emissions. Inasmuch as obesity is an important contributor to global GHG burden, strategies to reduce its prevalence should prioritize efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Accordingly, reducing obesity may have considerable benefits for both public health and the environment.

Editors' Choice 3 - Maternal Weight, Weight Gain, and Metabolism are Associated with Changes in Fetal Heart Rate and Variability

Objective: Pre-pregnancy obesity and extensive weight gain can lead to diseases in the offspring later in life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of anthropometric and metabolic factors on the fetal autonomic nervous system (ANS) in uncomplicated pregnancies.

Methods: A total of 184 pregnant women in the second or third trimester were included, and for 104 women, maternal insulin sensitivity (ISI) was determined. Fetal heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were determined by magnetic recording. Associations of maternal prepregnancy BMI, weight gain, and ISI with fetal HR and HRV were evaluated by ANCOVA, partial correlation, and mediation analysis.

Results: HR was increased and HRV decreased in fetuses of mothers with overweight or obesity in comparison to normal-weight mothers. Fetal HR was negatively correlated with maternal weight gain. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was positively correlated with fetal high frequency and was negatively correlated with low frequency and low/high frequency ratio. Maternal ISI showed a negative correlation with fetal HR.

Conclusions: The results show that the fetal ANS is sensitive to alterations of pre-pregnancy BMI, weight changes, and glucose metabolism. These findings highlight the importance of the intrauterine environment on the developing ANS and the possible programming of obesity.

Editors' Choice 4 - Assessing the Role of Health Behaviors, Socioeconomic Status, and Cumulative Stress for Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Obesity

Objective: This study aimed to examine the explanatory role of health behaviors, socioeconomic position (SEP), and psychosocial stressors on racial/ethnic obesity disparities in a multiethnic and multiracial sample of adults.

Methods: Using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study (2001-2003), Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis was conducted to quantify the extent to which health behaviors (fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity), SEP, and cumulative stressors (e.g., perceived discrimination, financial strain) each explained differences in obesity prevalence in Black, US-born Hispanic, and non-US-born Hispanic compared with non-Hispanic White participants.

Results: SEP and health behaviors did not explain obesity differences between racial/ethnic minorities and White individuals. Having high levels of stress in four or more domains explained 4.46% of the differences between Black and White individuals, whereas having high levels of stress in three domains significantly explained 14.13% of differences between US-born Hispanic and White. Together, the predictors explained less than 20% of differences between any racial/ethnic minority group and White individuals.

Conclusions: Exposure to stressors may play a role in obesity disparities, particularly among Black and US-born Hispanic individuals. Other obesity-related risk factors need to be examined to understand the underlying mechanisms explaining obesity disparities.


Weight History in Clinical Practice: The State of the Science and Future Directions

Eliciting a weight history can provide clinically important information to aid in treatment decision-making. This view is consistent with the life course perspective of obesity and the aim of patient-centered care, one of six domains of health care quality. However, thus far, the value and practicality of including a weight history in the clinical assessment and treatment of patients with obesity have not been systematically explored. For these reasons, the Clinical Committee of The Obesity Society established a task force to review and assess the available evidence to address five key questions. It is concluded that weight history is an essential component of the medical history for patients presenting with overweight or obesity, and there are strong and emerging data that demonstrate the importance of life stage, duration of exposure to obesity, maximum BMI, and group-based trajectory modeling in predicting risk for increased morbidity and mortality. Consideration of these and other patient-specific factors may improve risk stratification and clinical decision-making for screening, counseling, and management. Recommendations are provided for the key elements that should be included in a weight history, and several needs for future clinical research are outlined.

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