The Endocrine Society has called for more research into the factors which negatively affect long-term weight maintenance following weight loss.
In a new scientific statement, published in Endocrine Reviews , the Society highlighted that growing evidence suggests obesity is a disorder of the energy homeostasis system, rather than simply arising from the passive accumulation of excess weight. It said research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this ‘upward setting’ of the defended level of body fat mass, whether inherited or acquired.
“To effectively treat obesity, we need to better understand the mechanisms that cause this phenomenon, and to devise interventions that specifically address them. Our therapeutic focus has traditionally been on achieving weight reduction. Most patients can do this; what they have the most trouble with is keeping the weight off,” said Dr Michael W. Schwartz, chair of the task force that authored the statement.
Dr Schwartz said healthcare providers need to view this tendency to regain weight as the body’s expected response to weight loss, rather than as a sign of a failed treatment regimen or noncompliance with treatment.
The statement also calls for increased research into factors influencing obesity including the microbiome and the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.