The obese gut microbiome across the epidemiologic transition

Lara R. Dugas*, Miles Fuller, Jack Gilbert, Brian T. Layden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The obesity epidemic has emerged over the past few decades and is thought to be a result of both genetic and environmental factors. A newly identified factor, the gut microbiota, which is a bacterial ecosystem residing within the gastrointestinal tract of humans, has now been implicated in the obesity epidemic. Importantly, this bacterial community is impacted by external environmental factors through a variety of undefined mechanisms. We focus this review on how the external environment may impact the gut microbiota by considering, the host's geographic location 'human geography', and behavioral factors (diet and physical activity). Moreover, we explore the relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity with these external factors. And finally, we highlight here how an epidemiologic model can be utilized to elucidate causal relationships between the gut microbiota and external environment independently and collectively, and how this will help further define this important new factor in the obesity epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalEmerging Themes in Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2016


  • Geographical differences
  • Gut microbiome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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