Causes of Obesity

Obesity in America

In America alone, more than six million adults are classified as morbidly obese with another 9.6 million who are obese (US Census 2000; NHANES III data estimates). Can people with obese parents blame their own weight problems on genetics? Genetics may not be the culprit after all! There are other factors that come into play.

Obesity and Genetics

Studies suggest that obesity or the predisposition to obesity can be inherited, so genetics do have an effect on things like:

  • Blood glucose metabolism
  • Fat storage
  • Hormones
  • Metabolic rate

However, since the rate of obesity has risen so dramatically in recent decades, this discounts genetics as the main cause.

Other Family Influences

While genetics can play a role in obesity, another familial link to obesity is parental behavioral patterns. It is easy to develop the same habits as our parents, whether good or bad. This includes behaviors related to the following activities:

  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Exercise
  • Shopping

Family diet and exercise habits have a direct influence on the future weight of children in that family even into adulthood.

Lack of Physical Exercise

It is a well known fact that to maintain a healthy weight you need to burn the calories you eat. Lack of activity is a major contributor to obesity. To compound the problem, obesity can lead to mobility problems, which makes exercise even less desirable.

Eating Too Much

Eating too much means eating more calories than you burn; which results in energy stored in the form of body fat.

Eating High Fat Sugary Foods

Along with eating too much, one of the causes of obesity is eating high fat sugary foods. The kinds of food eaten also play a role in the rise in obesity. Studies have shown a link to digestive and metabolic disorders with the over-consumption of white flour carbohydrates combined with low fiber intake. Not only do eating these foods encourage your body to store fat, but they can also mess with your metabolism.

Two Main Causes of Obesity

Causes of obesity can be listed under two categories: genetics or environmental. While we can't do anything about our genes, we do have control over environmental factors that lead to obesity. If you are unsure of steps to take toward a healthier weight talk to your doctor today. There's no sense waiting. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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