Feeding behaviour in obesity
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
I n the German Democratic Republic, as in other highly developed countries, the number of people weighing more than is normal has steadily increased since the end of World War 11. A recent survey showed that 32.6% of the entire population are overweight. T h e number of obese women is very much larger than that of obese men, the percentages being 42-2 and I 9.2% respectively. Especially threatening is the increase in the incidence of obesity with advancing age. Epidemiological investigations
... l investigations show that the number of overweight persons is particularly great among the middle-aged and aged. This is particularly true of women as more than 50% of women in their fifties must be considered as having adiposity. No wonder that the question as to the causes of excessive increases of weight has been raised time and again. Adiposity-at least in the light of pathogenetic principlesmust be considered to be the result of an overbalance. Accordingly, it is the result of either hyperphagia or hypomotility. However, it has not yet been possible to answer unambiguously the question of the relative importance and interrelationships of the two phenomena. But the statement that obesity must be considered the result of an overbalance does not provide an answer to the question of the causes of the disorder, that is, its aetiology. It is true that we know how obesity develops, but what we lack is knowledge of why people tend to take insufficient exercise or why they eat too much or have diets based on improper principles. A discussion of the harmful factors involved will not, however, be the subject of this paper. T h e assumption that an increase of weight may be triggered by improper nutrition, which is entirely correct from a pathogenetic point of view, has always been a matter of controversy. For example, the counter-arguments were that not all of the 'fatties' eat too much, that not all of the gluttons are fat, that not all persons weighing more than normal show a loss of weight when put on a restricted diet, and that some people would even grow stouter when put on a limited diet. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze exactly the eating habits of obese persons with a view to clarifying the actual situation. It was by extensive and intensive studies made within the framework of a large-scale research project that we endeavoured to make a major cuntribution to this all-important question."