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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: December 2009

2 - Regulation of food intake and body weight

from Part II - Scientific underpinnings

Summary

The increasing global prevalence of obesity, and the medically and economically important diseases and illnesses that are associated with obesity, have propelled research on the regulation of food intake and body weight into the public spotlight. Most mammals consume food as individual meals, and energy intake must be regulated through the frequency with which meals are taken, and the size of the meals. A number of brain regions are involved in the regulation of food intake, energy balance and body weight. One of these regions is the hindbrain, which is a target for signalling from the gastrointestinal tract, processing information in anatomically distinct structures. A substantial and growing body of evidence supports the existence of hypothalamic homeostatic mechanisms for regulating the food consumption. The potential to manipulate energy balance systems to therapeutic advantage in obesity, metabolic syndrome and eating disorders is fuelling the current frenetic activity within the pharmaceutical industry.
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