Share on PinterestScientists identify a part of the brain that is important for the initial stages of learning to seek food. David Sacks/Getty Images
Overweight and obesity increase the risk of a wide range of illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
Research in rats has identified a part of the brain involved in the early stages of learning to seek out and eat food when presented with specific cues.
Insights into how the brain develops unhealthy eating habits could inspire new ways to reduce overeating.
The prevalence of obesity has almost tripled globally since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
By 2016, 39% of adults around the world had overweight, and 13% had obesity.
The problem is particularly acute in the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the prevalence of obesity among adults was 42% in 2017–2018.
Overweight and obesity are associated with cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and severe COVID-19. They also increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
The WHO blame what they call the global obesity epidemic on declines in physical activity, and rising consumption of energy-dense food…