Adipositas - Ursachen, Folgeerkrankungen, Therapie 2017; 11(02): 100-107
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1618956
Schattauer GmbH

Treatment of obesity and physiological regulation

New findings on the set-point theoryArticle in several languages: deutsch | EnglishW. Kern1
  • 1Endokrinologikum Ulm, Ulm
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Publication History

Publication Date:
29 December 2017 (online)


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese persons worldwide increases constantly, and a downwards trend is not in sight. The body weight is stabilized by hormonal and neurochemical processes, and attempts to reduce the body weight fail in most persons. After an initially successful weight reduction, significant weight regain over subsequent years to the level of its previous “set-point” is nearly universal. Only a detailed knowledge about the precise mechanism of body weight regulation can open up the field of research for sustainably acting treatments for obesity. Results from current research suggest that the “set-point” is stored in hypothalamic regions of the brain, which is ‘defended’ by neurochemical processes triggered by weight loss. This seems to be the main reasons why, in the long-term, weight regain is more likely to occur than weight loss. To understand the mechanisms why in some persons any attempts to reduce weight permanently fail, while others remain lean, is one of the key areas of current obesity research. The present article gives an overview of the current state of research in the field of set-point theory.