Eureka: Insights into human energy and weight regulation from simple - bathtub-like - models
Abdel-Hamid, Tarek K.
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Recent research findings reveal that human bioenergetics belongs to the class of multi-loop nonlinear feedback systems - the same class of systems that system dynamics aims to study. In this paper the author aims to demonstrate the utility of utilizing simple - bathtub like - system dynamics models to gain insight into human weight and energy regulation and (in the process) help debunk widespread misconceptions that are hindering prevention and treatment efforts. Specifically, the author presents a series of models, starting with one that captures conventional wisdom about human energy regulation. This baseline model is critiqued and its limitations - and pitfalls - exposed through model experimentation. The model is then incrementally refined in a spiral of modeling-experimentation-learning steps, to arrive at a structure that integrates emerging (advanced) conceptualization(s) of human weight/energy regulation. In the concluding section, the author builds upon the insights gained from this modeling exercise to propose recommendations for obesity treatment and prevention.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/ijsda.2012070105
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