Human Growth and Body Weight Dynamics: An Integrative Systems Model
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Quantifying human weight and height dynamics due to growth, aging, and energy balance can inform clinical practice and policy analysis. This paper presents the first mechanism-based model spanning full individual life and capturing changes in body weight, composition and height. Integrating previous empirical and modeling findings and validated against several additional empirical studies, the model replicates key trends in human growth including A) Changes in energy requirements from birth to old ages. B) Short and long-term dynamics of body weight and composition. C) Stunted growth with chronic malnutrition and potential for catch up growth. From obesity policy analysis to treating malnutrition and tracking growth trajectories, the model can address diverse policy questions. For example I find that even without further rise in obesity, the gap between healthy and actual Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) has embedded, for different population groups, a surplus of 14%–24% in energy intake which will be a source of significant inertia in obesity trends. In another analysis, energy deficit percentage needed to reduce BMI by one unit is found to be relatively constant across ages. Accompanying documented and freely available simulation model facilitates diverse applications customized to different sub-populations.
DepartmentSloan School of Management
Public Library of Science
Rahmandad, Hazhir. “Human Growth and Body Weight Dynamics: An Integrative Systems Model.” Edited by David Meyre. PLoS ONE 9, no. 12 (December 5, 2014): e114609.
Final published version