27 July 2011
Vol 3, Issue 93

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Growing Girth. Today, people around the world are using more and more of the tape measure to assess the sizes of their waistlines. But the intertwining of the tape measure's dangling ends reminds us that what's in and on our genes and how our genetic makeup interacts with our environment contribute to our body size. As girth increases around the world, scientists are finding that fetal and childhood influences make a sizable contribution to the risk of becoming an obese adult and that these effects are mediated at least in part by epigenetic changes. The United Nations General Assembly will meet soon to discuss the growing threat from noninfectious conditions—including obesity and related diseases—in the developing world. In this week's Commentary, Gluckman et al. argue that to have an impact on the obesity epidemic, interventions must address early-life contributions to adult weight problems. [CREDIT: FOTOSEARCH]