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Non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes, are clearly the leading public health problems facing the world in the 21st century.1 The causes of NCDs are predominately unhealthful lifestyles such as physical inactivity, poor diets, smoking, unhealthful sleep habits and not managing stress effectively.1 In recent years, obesity rates have increased in most countries, and this problem receives enormous attention, in both the popular media and scientific press. The fundamental cause of increasing rates of obesity is too many people being in a positive energy balance on too many days; but the problem is very complex.2 From a simple perspective, energy balance is the ratio of energy intake and energy expenditure, and if more calories are consumed than are expended, a person will be in positive energy balance. This excessive energy will be stored in the body, mostly as body fat. Of course maintaining energy balance is a much more complex issue than this simple statement, with numerous environmental, social and physiological factors having a role. Extensive reviews of the energy …
Competing interests The Global Energy Balance Network has received support from private philanthropy, the University of Colorado, the University of South Carolina, the University of Copenhagen, including an unrestricted education gift from The Coca-Cola Company. GEBN believes that finding workable solutions to correcting energy imbalance will be achieved faster by working with all sectors of society. GEBN seeks support to continue our efforts from both the public and private sectors.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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