Exploring pathways between environmental and individual factors in the explanation of overweight and obesogenic behaviours

Background

Several cancers are associated with obesity. Obesity treatment is largely ineffective, necessitating obesity prevention aiming to establish neutral energy balance among non-obese individuals. Several specific energy-balance related behaviours (EBRB) have been identified, including regular physical activity, soft drink intake, fruit and vegetable consumption, and sedentary behaviours such as TV-viewing. For intervention development, insight into determinants of EBRB is necessary. Interventions to date have relied heavily on individual-level determinant theories and focus on changing knowledge, attitudes and intentions. However, it has been argued that the obesity epidemic is attributable to an obesogenic environment. Research investigating personal and environmental determinants of EBRB simultaneously is limited, inconclusive and often non-theoretical. More theory-based research on personal and environmental factors is needed to inform effective obesity prevention interventions.