The development of obesity not only depends on the balance between food intake and caloric utilization but also on the balance between white adipose tissue, which is the primary site of energy storage, and brown adipose tissue, which is specialized for energy expenditure. In addition, some sites of white fat storage in the body are more closely linked than others to the metabolic complications of obesity, such as diabetes. In this Review, we consider how the developmental origins of fat contribute to its physiological, cellular, and molecular heterogeneity and explore how these factors may play a role in the growing epidemic of obesity. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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