Determinants of Obesity


The significant increase in obesity during the past ten years has serious public health consequences. Obesity is a risk factor in many chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. The alarming increase in childhood and adolescent is a source of particular public health concern.In collaboration with Dr. Diane Finegood, Professor at the SFU's School of Kinesiology and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, the Complex Systems Modelling Group is developing models to understand the demographic and social determinants of obesity. The goal is to not only understand how social dynamics might be contributing to obesity, but to explore how it might play a role in correcting the problem. The models under development use ideas from three main areas: dynamic Markov processes, compartment epidemiological models, and models such as the random field Ising model, which exhibit collective phenomena.