A fundamental principle of nutrition and metabolism is that body weight change is associated with an imbalance between the energy content of food eaten and energy expended by the body to maintain life and to perform physical work. Such an energy balance framework is a potentially powerful tool for investigating the regulation of body weight. However, we need a better un- derstanding of the components of energy balance and their in- teractions over various time scales to explain the natural history of conditions such as obesity and to estimate the magnitude and potential success of therapeutic interventions. Therefore, the ASN and the International Life Sciences Institute convened a panel composed of members with expertise in weight manage- ment, energy metabolism, physical activity, and behavior to reviewthe published scientific literature and to hear presentations from other experts in these fields. The Consensus Panel met 9–12 May 2011 in Chicago, IL, and was charged to provide answers to the following 5 questions: 1. Explain energy balance and imbalance in terms of a biolog- ical system in which energy intake and energy expenditure change over time in response to the environment. 2. What are the interactions between the components of en- ergy balance and how are they regulated? 3. What is the veracity of some of the popular beliefs related to energy balance? 4. What limitations do we face in the study of energy balance and its components? 5. What research would better inform our knowledge of en- ergy balance and its components?
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