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Pattern of lean and fat deposition in adults


THE fact that obesity becomes more common when societies change from a subsistence/labour intensive to an affluent/sedentary way of life might be taken simply as a demonstration that easy living encourages slothfulness and gluttony. Fat people, however, do not in general seem to eat more than thin ones, and there is increasing evidence of an inherited component of obesity. It seems more likely therefore that, throughout much of past history, individuals who had a genetic constitution predisposing them to store energy preferentially as fat have had some kind of advantage for survival. We have used a computer simulation model of energy balance to compare the effects of different seasonal patterns of work output and food availability on individuals with inherent tendencies towards either leanness or fatness, and to illustrate the circumstances and the manner in which the latter type has a relative advantage over the former.

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DUGDALE, A., PAYNE, P. Pattern of lean and fat deposition in adults. Nature 266, 349–351 (1977).

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