Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Top 100 Most Cited Studies in Obesity Research: A Bibliometric Analysis

By Tauseef Ahmad

Submitted: June 7th 2021Reviewed: June 14th 2021Published: December 22nd 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98877

Downloaded: 51

Abstract

Obesity represents a major global public health problem. In the past few decades the prevalence of obesity has increased worldwide. In 2016, an estimated 1.9 billion adults were overweight; of these more than 650 million were obese. There is an urgent need for potential solutions and deeper understanding of the risk factors responsible for obesity. A bibliometric analysis study was designed to provide a comprehensive overview of top 100 most cited studies on obesity indexed in Web of Science database. The online search was conducted on June 6, 2021 using the keywords “Obesity” OR “Obese” OR “Overweight” in title filed with no limitations on document types or languages. The top 100 cited studies were selected in descending order based on number of citations. The obtained data were imported in to Microsoft Excel 2019 to extract the basic information such as title, authors name, journal name, year of publication and total citations. In addition, the data were also imported in to HistCite™ for further citation analysis, and VOSviewer software for windows to plot the data for network visualization mapping. The initial search retrieved a total of 167,553 documents on obesity. Of the total retrieved documents, only top 100 most cited studies on obesity were included for further analysis. These studies were published from 1982 to 2017 in English language. Most of the studies were published as an article (n = 84). The highly cited study on obesity was “Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey” published in BMJ-British Medical Journal (Impact Factor 39.890, Incites Journal Citation Reports, 2021) in 2000 cited 10,543 times. The average number of citations per study was 2,947.22 (ranging from 1,566 to 10,543 citations). Two studies had more than 10,000 citations. A total of 2,272 authors from 111 countries were involved. The most prolific author was Flegal KM authored 14 studies with 53,558 citations. The highly active country in obesity research was United States of America. The included studies were published in 33 journals. The most attractive journal was JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor 56.272) published 17 studies and cited globally 51,853 times. The most frequently used keywords were obesity (n = 87) and overweight (n = 22). The countries with highest total link strength was United States of America (n = 155), followed by England (n = 140), and Scotland (n = 130). Our results show that most number of highly cited studies were published in developed countries. The findings of this study can serve as a standard benchmark for researchers to provide the quality bibliographic references and insights into the future research trends and scientific cooperation in obesity research.

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • bibliometric analysis

1. Introduction

Obesity represents a major public health challenge, in the past few decades the prevalence of obesity has increased worldwide and associated with serious adverse health outcomes [1, 2]. According to the statistics of World Health Organization, in 2016, an estimated 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight, of these more than 650 million were obese. In 2019, 38 million children (under age of 5 years) were overweight or obese [3].

Obesity associated comorbidities including certain cancer, depression, fatty liver disease, hepatic steatosis, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, orthopedic conditions, type 2 diabetes mellitus and social isolation [1, 4, 5]. There is an urgent need for potential solutions and deeper understanding of the risk factors responsible for obesity.

Bibliometric type studies are of great interest, conducted not only to present an overall overview of the published scientific literature but also critical and subjective summarization of the most influential scientific studies [6, 7, 8].

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2. Aim

This study aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of top 100 most cited studies on obesity. The finding can serve as a standard benchmark for researchers and to provide the quality bibliographic references.

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3. Methods

3.1 Study design

Bibliometric citation analysis study.

3.2 Searching strategy and database

On June 6, 2021 the online search was conducted on Web of Science, Core Collection database (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United State of America). The search keywords used were “Obesity” OR “Obese” OR “Overweight” in title filed with no limitations on documents types or languages. The top 100 cited studies were selected in descending order based on number of citations.

3.3 Data extraction

The obtained studies were imported in to Microsoft Excel 2019 to extract the basic information such as title, authors name, journal name, year of publication and total citations. In addition, the downloaded dataset were imported in to HistCite™ for further citation analysis.

3.4 Visualization network

Visualization network co-authorship countries and co-occurrence all keywords were plotted by using VOSviewer software version 1.6.15 (https://www.vosviewer.com/) for windows.

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4. Ethical approval

This study did not involve any human or animal subjects, thus, ethical approval was not required.

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5. Results

The initial search retrieved a total of 167,553 documents on obesity indexed in Web of Science database. Of the total retrieved documents, only top 100 most studies on obesity were included in this study. The included studies were published in English language. Most of the studies were published as an article (n = 84) followed by review (n = 14) and letter (n = 1). The average number of citations per study was 2,947.22, ranging from 1,566 to 10,543 citations.

The most cited study on obesity was “Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey” published in BMJ-British Medical Journal in 2000 cited 10,543 times. Another study “Positional cloning of the mouse obese gene and its human homolog” published in Nature in 1994 was cited 10,214 times. A total of 10 studies were cited more than 5,000 times. Furthermore, 52 studies were cited at least 2,000 times, while the remaining studies were cited more than 1,500 times. The top 100 studies on obesity is presented in Table 1.

5.1 Most prolific authors

A total of 2,272 authors contributed to top 100 most cited studies. The most prolific author was Flegal KM authored 14 studies with 53,558 citations, followed by followed by Carroll MD (n = 10, citations = 36,950), and Ogden CL (n = 9, citations = 34,784). Only nine authors authored at least five studies as shown in Table 2. In addition, only 22 authors contributed in at least three studies.

RankStudy referenceLCSLCS/tGCSGCS/t
1Cole et al. [9]50.2810543585.72
2Zhang et al. [10]140.5810218425.75
3Alberti et al. [11]00.007170796.67
4Ogden et al. [12]70.586501541.75
5Weisberg et al. [13]90.606360424.00
6Turnbaugh et al. [14]90.756237519.75
7Ng et al. [15]20.5060921523.00
8Turner et al. [16]10.055585279.25
9Ogden et al. [17]20.5055301382.50
10Hotamisligil et al. [18]120.485305212.20
11Calle et al. [19]20.134927328.47
12Considine et al. [20]10.054888222.18
13Ley et al. [21]40.334624385.33
14Flegal et al. [22]90.564575285.94
15Flegal et al. [23]50.634510563.75
16Xu et al. [24]50.334501300.07
17Turnbaugh et al. [25]20.224499499.89
18Pi-Sunyer et al. [26]00.004046202.30
19Halaas et al. [27]80.353846167.22
20DeFronzo et al. [28]00.003653135.30
21Flegal et al. [29]30.503653608.83
22Pelleymounter et al. [30]70.303611157.00
23Yamauchi et al. [31]30.183603211.94
24Arita et al. [32]40.213588188.84
25Ley et al. [33]70.543439264.54
26Steppan et al. [34]40.243335196.18
27Furukawa et al. [35]10.073314236.71
28Cani et al. [36]30.273183289.36
29Must et al. [37]30.163081162.16
30Hedley et al. [38]80.573077219.79
31Kopelman [39]30.173001166.72
32Maffei et al. [40]30.132989129.96
33Black et al. [41]10.202937587.40
34Sjostrom et al. [42]00.002910264.55
35Hubert et al. [43]60.17290883.09
36Frayling et al. [44]00.002908264.36
37Haslam and James [45]10.082900223.08
38Mokdad et al. [46]20.132816187.73
39Whitaker et al. [47]20.102766131.71
40Barlow [48]00.002764251.27
41Lumeng et al. [49]00.002762251.09
42Kahn et al. [50]10.082747228.92
43Ogden et al. [51]10.172704450.67
44Weyer et al. [52]00.002694158.47
45Christakis and Fowler [53]10.092687244.27
46Ogden et al. [54]50.312660166.25
47Ozcan et al. [55]10.072602185.86
48Despres and Lemieux [56]00.002581215.08
49Hotamisligil et al. [57]70.302580112.17
50Cani et al. [58]20.202516251.60
51Hirosumi et al. [59]20.132304144.00
52Huszar et al. [60]10.052295109.29
53Calle and Kaaks [61]00.002286163.29
54Swinburn et al. [62]40.572196313.71
55Weiss et al. [63]00.002178155.57
56Flegal et al. [64]70.352166108.30
57Kuczmarski et al. [65]110.46213789.04
58Montague et al. [66]50.24208199.10
59Ezzati et al. [67]00.0020732073.00
60Kahn and Flier [68]30.172068114.89
61Gregor and Hotamisligil [69]00.002026289.43
62Flegal et al. [70]20.402021404.20
63Locke et al. [71]00.001967655.67
64Luppino et al. [72]00.001951243.88
65Wortsman et al. [73]00.001934107.44
66Hotamisligil et al. [74]50.23193387.86
67Flegal et al. [75]20.151907146.69
68Yudkin et al. [76]20.11187398.58
69Mokdad et al. [77]20.121861109.47
70Popkin et al. [78]10.171856309.33
71Yusuf et al. [79]10.081841141.62
72Guh et al. [80]00.001836204.00
73Everard et al. [81]00.001836367.20
74Wang and Lobstein [82]10.081832152.67
75Ebbeling et al. [83]00.001823113.94
76Wang and Beydoun [84]10.091821165.55
77Ridaura et al. [85]00.001799359.80
78Kenchaiah et al. [86]40.251725107.81
79Afshin et al. [87]00.0017031703.00
80Elchebly et al. [88]00.00170289.58
81Dietz [89]10.05170185.05
82Poirier et al. [90]10.081687140.58
83Van Gaal et al. [91]00.001682140.17
84Newgard et al. [92]10.111682186.89
85Turnbaugh et al. [93]20.201674167.40
86Spiegelman and Flier [94]20.12166397.82
87Kanda et al. [95]30.251661138.42
88Uysal et al. [96]70.33166079.05
89Hu et al. [97]30.14165975.41
90Finkelstein et al. [98]10.111645182.78
91Mozaffarian [99]00.001640820.00
92Larsson et al. [100]10.03163348.03
93Mokdad et al. [101]20.11163185.84
94Visser et al. [102]10.05161585.00
95Kissebah et al. [103]10.03161244.78
96Wang et al. [104]30.431610230.00
97Clement et al. [105]10.05158879.40
98Puhl and Heuer [106]00.001582175.78
99Flegal et al. [107]00.001574787.00
100Turek et al. [108]00.001566120.46

Table 1.

Top 100 most cited studies on obesity.

Note: LCS: Local citation score; LCS/t: Local citation score per year; GCS: Global citation score; GCS/t: Global citation score per year.

S. No.AuthorStudiesLCSLCS/tGCSGCS/t
1Flegal KM14675.461386535586340.429
2Carroll MD10474.171429369505114.773
3Ogden CL9403.821429347845006.473
4Hotamisligil GS7341.541382184101110.571
5Dietz WH6150.819507225381238.22
6Gordon JI6242.044017222722196.711
7Johnson CL5402.25476214615869.3149
8Mokdad AH580.856244141033609.046
9Spiegelman BM5291.26563113140585.4702
10Kengne AP420.5119417372
11Khang YH420.5119417372
12Kit BK481.566667139082846.2
13Ley RE4221.844017187991669.511
14Turnbaugh PJ4171.505556170341572.372

Table 2.

Authors with at least 4 studies.

Note: LCS: Local citation score; LCS/t: Local citation score per year; GCS: Global citation score; GCS/t: Global citation score per year.

5.2 Most active countries

A total 111 countries were involved in top 100 most cited studies on obesity. The most active country was United States of America (studies contributed: 75, citations: 217,788), followed by United Kingdom (studies contributed: 18, citations: 57,015), Canada (studies contributed: 9, citations: 17,920), Japan (studies contributed: 9, citations: 26,695), France (studies contributed: 8, citations: 21,228), Sweden (studies contributed: 8, citations: 20,632), and Netherlands (studies contributed: 7, citations: 13,018) as shown in Table 3. Only 21 countries were involved at least in four studies.

S. No.CountryNumber of studiesLCSGCS
1United States of America75207217788
2United Kingdom183257015
3Canada9717920
4Japan91326695
5France81121228
6Sweden81220632
7Netherlands7313018
8Belgium6512993
9Finland6216579
10Australia5614031
11Italy5215488
12Pakistan5314772
13Switzerland5311196
14Brazil4312805
15Estonia4211835
16Germany4211835
17Norway4211835
18Peoples Republic of China4211835
19Saudi Arabia4211835
20South Korea4211835

Table 3.

Country with at least 3 studies.

Note: LCS: Local citation score; GCS: Global citation score.

5.3 Journals

The top 100 most cited studies were published in 33 journals. The most attractive journal was JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association published 17 studies and cited globally 51,853 times as shown in Table 4. Only seven journals published at least 4 studies, six journals published two studies each, while the remaining journals published a single study each.

Journal nameNumber of studiesLCSLCS/tGCSGCS/t
JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association (IF: 56.272, Q1)17655.400378518536276.611
Nature (IF: 49.962, Q1)14523.120612485243834.997
Lancet (IF: 79.321, Q1)9131.903846270575484.994
Science (IF: 47.728, Q1)9331.430875252721644.342
New England Journal of Medicine (IF: 91.245, Q1)8100.614935237843157.565
Journal of Clinical Investigation (IF: 14.808, Q1)7281.725776232461577.351
Circulation (IF: 29.690, Q1)470.254762134051840.336

Table 4.

Journals published at least 4 studies.

Note: IF: Impact Factor, Incites Journal Citation Reports, 2021; Q: Quartile; LCS: Local citation score; LCS/t: Local citation score per year; GCS: Global citation score; GCS/t: Global citation score per year.

5.4 Commonly used keywords

A total of 366 keywords were used in the top 100 most cited studies. The most widely used keywords were obesity (n = 87) and overweight (n = 22) as shown in Table 5.

S. No.WordOccurrenceLCSGCS
1Obesity87205245145
2Overweight225873740
3Insulin175545751
4Resistance165443149
5Prevalence126246421
6Adults114138279
7Diabetes101332966
8Trends103427357

Table 5.

The keywords used at least ten times.

Note: LCS: Local citation score; GCS: Global citation score.

5.5 Year of publication

The top 100 most cited on obesity were published from 1982 to 2017 as shown in Figure 1. The highest number of studies were published in 2006 (n = 9, citations = 29,552) and 2007 (n = 7, citations = 19,035) as presented in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1.

Publication years of top 100 most cited studies in obesity research.

Figure 2.

Total global citation score per year of top 100 most cited studies in obesity research.

5.6 Co-authorship countries network visualization

The minimum number of studies for a country was fixed at 3. Of the total countries, only 38 countries were plotted based on total link strength (TLS) as shown in Figure 3. The countries with highest TLS were United States of America (155), England (140), and Scotland (130).

Figure 3.

Co-authorship countries network visualization. Two clusters are formed; red color represents cluster 1 (24 items), and green color represents cluster 2 (14 items).

5.7 Co-occurrence all keywords network visualization

Of the total keywords, only 69 were plotted as shown in Figure 4. The keyword body-mass index has the highest TLS 117, followed by overweight (65), adipose-tissue (56), prevalence (53), weight (52), and obesity (49).

Figure 4.

Co-occurrence all keywords network visualization. Three clusters are formed; red color represents cluster 1 (29 items), green color represents cluster 2 (26 items), and blue color represents cluster 3 (14 items).

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6. Discussion

In recent years, bibliometric type studies have been increased significantly, these studies not only recognize the most influential studies in certain area but also determine the research shift and other important insights into the bibliometric parameters. Globally, obesity is a major public health problem and the prevalence has increased in the past few decades. Therefore, this study was undertaken to recognize the most influential studies in obesity research and provide essential bibliographic information. To the best of our knowledge this is the first bibliometric analysis on top 100 most cited studies on obesity indexed in Web of Science database. The highly cited study in obesity research received a total of 10,543 citations. The study published in a highly rated journal in medicine had an impact factor of 39.890 and placed in quartile 1 (Q1) category. The study entitled “Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey” provides cut off points for body mass index in childhood of six large nationally representative cross sectional growth studies [9].

Another study received a total of 10,218 citations. The study titled “Positional cloning of the mouse obese gene and its human homologue” discusses the potential role of obese gene and these genes may function as part of a signaling pathway from adipose tissue that acts to regulate the size of the body fat depot [10].

The top 100 most cited were published in 33 journals. The most attractive and core journals in obesity research were JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association (n = 17), and Nature (n = 14) had an impact factor of 56.272, and 49.962 respectively. A total of 31 studies were published in these two journals with a total citations of 100,377, thus representing the quality of work and aiming of the authors for high impact factor journals. Influential studies on obesity were published in higher impact factor journals. Furthermore, studies published in higher impact factor journals are more likely to be cited by the scientific community. The impact factor shows importance and quality of a journal [109]. The top three authors based on number of studies in obesity research were Flegal KM (n = 14, citations = 53,558), followed by Carroll MD (n = 10, citations = 36,950), and Ogden CL (n = 9, citations = 34,784). In our study, the leading country was United States of America contributed in a total of 75 studies with a total citations of 217,788. The finding is in line with studies in other research areas [110, 111, 112, 113].

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7. Conclusion

This study provides a comprehensive information of the most cited studies in obesity research. Majority of the most cited studies were published by developed countries in higher impact factor journals. The current study might be helpful to researchers for insights into the future research trends and scientific cooperation.

© 2021 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tauseef Ahmad (December 22nd 2021). Top 100 Most Cited Studies in Obesity Research: A Bibliometric Analysis, Role of Obesity in Human Health and Disease, Venketeshwer Rao and Leticia Rao, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98877. Available from:

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