Most people believe it is behavioural problem. That’s a popular belief. Unfortunately, it’s not true. The real science of it shows that obesity is much more complicated. It is a multifactorial problem that involves environment, genetics and other factors. And when you look at obesity through the telescope of behaviour, the puzzle faces do not fit. When we see with regards of behavioural genetics, environment, etc. the puzzle pieces start to fit. So, any of these factors can become pertinent. Our psychology, we mourn with food, we celebrate with food. All aspects of our life are encircling around food. It is difficult to make behavioural changes to solve this problem alone. Obesity has become a social problem worldwide. we need to understand the causes of obesity. We should also look at some of the preventive measures for obesity.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition involving an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation. So, obesity is not only a cosmetic concern. It presents a negative effect on health. Obesity is about having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more. The range 25-30 kg/m2 is in category of overweight. A body mass index is a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of person’s height. Obesity is further evaluated as fat distribution around the waist (waist circumference). It is a silent killer.

Obesity is a chronic medical condition. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems. Some of these issues are:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Infertility
  • Irregular periods
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Type2 Diabetes

Causes of Obesity

causes of obesity

Obesity causes by eating more calories than you burn. You can burn calories by doing exercise and normal daily activities. As a result, your body stores these excess calories as fat.

Some of the common specific causes of obesity include:

1. Inactivity- having a sedentary lifestyle

With television, computers and other modern convenient devices we live a sedentary lifestyle. Some decades earlier shopping consisted of walking down the road to the high street. The grocers, bankers, etc. were available on these high streets. Now we have supermarkets and mall to buy all the items. We reach these places by driving our cars to reach the destination. People follow a sedentary lifestyle by doing the following activities:

  • Sitting or lying down very often
  • Engaged in social media, watching television or playing video game
  • Too much use of mobile phone/computer in a day

2. Unhealthy Eating

  • Eating a poor diet, foods with high calories are ways of unhealthy eating.
  • Night-eating between the evening meal and next morning is a reason for obesity. 
  • High trans fats like crackers, cake and fast-food cause big problem.
  • High fructose corn syrup like sodas, ice-cream increase the obesity rates.
  • Binge-eating disorder is a psychiatric illness. It is an uncontrolled eating. This will cause obesity.
  • Frequency eating can make excess calorie intake, which is a key factor.

3. Lack of Sleep

Sleep restriction associates with a decrease in serum leptin. An increase in serum ghrelin leads to increase hunger and appetite. This can lead to hormonal changes that can increase your appetite. You may also crave for foods that are high in calories. This can contribute to weight gain. The hormone called cortisol increases in your blood. This hormone is handles storing fat. So as your cortisol level goes up because of lack of sleep, you can gain weight. A lack of proper sleep decreases your will power to make healthy choices.

4. Genetics

A person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affects hormones involving fat regulation. For example, one cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells and placenta. It controls weight by signaling the brain. Without it the brain believes that the body is starving. So, we keep eating even though our stomach is full. This leads to obesity.

5. Gynecological issues

Obesity is more common in women then in men. It is leading preventable cause of death worldwide. Sometimes weight gained during pregnancy may be hard to lose. This leads to obesity. Women carrying extra weight may get abnormal bleeding during their periods. This is a side effect from the extra astringent produced by the fat cells. It is due to the over-weight women carry. This can lead to health issues. Obesity causes infertility in many women. In a cesarian delivery the healing of c-section takes a longer time in women who are obese.

6. Aging

As people grow older, the muscle in the body decreases. This leads to slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight. They have a decrease in physical activity and an increase in sedentary lifestyle. Growth hormone secretion also decreases with age. It may result in accumulation of fat. This reduces the FFM and energy balance. Obesity causes serious health complications. It associates with the poor quality of life among the elderly people. The impairment of physical functions increases body pain. It also lacks vitality among the elderly.

7. Medications

Certain medications may cause weight gain. Some antidepressants, hormonal agents and diabetes medication can develop obesity. Any change in body composition loke insulin, steroids may cause obesity.

Obesity may sometimes cause due to certain medical conditions such as:

  • Cushing syndrome

This syndrome is progressive central obesity involving the face, neck.

  • Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism gain weight due to slowing of metabolic activity.

  • Polycystic syndrome

More than 50 percent of women with polycystic syndrome are obese.

  • Prader-willi syndrome

8. Seasonal affective disorder

This disorder is a variation of mood related to season. It is a psychological factor that leads to obesity. It is a winter increase in body weight. We can treat it with drugs that modulate serotine release. The major symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are:

  • Changes in mood
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep changes
  • Withdrawal from other people
  • Aches and pains
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight Gain

9. Lack of Physical activity

When we eat more calories than what our body needs, the extra calories turn into fats. The physical activity has an effect on how your hormones burn. Hormones have an effect on how your body deals with food. Several studies have shown that physical activity benefits your insulin levels. It keeps them stable. Unstable insulin levels cause weight gain. Experts say we need a 30-minute of physical activity each day. It can be anything between brisk walking to an intensive workout.

10. Psychological factors

Anxiety, loneliness and boredom are common in today’s world scenario. This can lead to over eating. Food becomes the only point of focus for them. People suffering from these factors tend to eat high calorie food. Obesity can affect your quality of life. It may cause problems like depression, social isolation, etc. People might lose their self-esteem. They may start smoking and alcohol abuse. This causes obesity.

Obesity Preventive Measures

Obesity Preventive Measures

          Obesity is a global health pandemic according to WHO (World Health Organization).  Preventive measures for obesity help you to reduce the risk of other health issues. The issues list is large. We can prevent obesity by following the following steps. It may be challenging at times. But we all know that this journey is compulsory. We should consider it on urgent basis.

1. Diet

  • Eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
  • Add foods rich in fiber to your diet. It helps you feel full with intake of less calories. This reduces weight gain. 
  • We should have control over junk food intake
  • Sugar increases our body weight. So, we should reduce the consumption of sugar.
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats. Add healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts to your diet
  • Drink more water. Avoid drinking soft drinks, energy drinks and beverages. They contain sugar that is harmful for obesity.
  • Prepare your meals at home. They will be less likely to gain weight
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol and smoking

2. Exercise

  • People can do lot of exercise to protect themselves from the danger of obesity
  • We can join gym, perform yoga, swimming or cycling.
  • Walk is also a way to control obesity
  • Any of these forms of exercise burns the calories and produces heat in the body
  • Workout is the best way to prevent obesity
  • We should follow a modern-intense physical activity for at least 45 minutes each day.
  • Exercise should not be a task. It should be a fun activity.

3. Relax

  • To reduce weight we should control anxiety and stress
  • Stress can harm your body and mind in many ways. Take corrective measures to control stress.
  • Stay happy and try to socialize yourself
  • We can listen to music that we love
  • Go for get-together with friends
  • Do whatever relaxes you and brings you joy
  • Practice meditation as it regulates mood and manages depression
  • Relaxation also helps to reduce emotional eating

4. Sleep

  • A sound sleep is beneficial for our body and mind
  • It effects neuroendocrine cells and glucose metabolism. They are essential for smooth body functioning.
  • Lack of sleep can have adverse effect on appetite-related hormones
  • A lack of sleep alters the working of our brain. It affects decision-making. Adequate sleep helps you to make better food choices.
  • Sleeping early can prevent mid-night snacking
  • A sound sleep enhances physical activity
  • Sleepiness and tiredness increase sedentary behaviour

5. Be Consistent

  • Set a goal and find ways to do it.
  • Once you have made up your mind to control weight, stay consistent
  • Do not stop the journey or else you may gain weight
  • Maintain a diary. Keep a record of your weight loss journey
  • Develop new habits that will support a healthy lifestyle and permanent weight loss
  • Push yourself a little more every week. Take challenges by increasing the intensity, duration and type of workout
  • You should motivate yourself by celebrating your success
  • Being accountable is important for your success in preventing obesity regime.


Every age group in the world is facing obesity. You may have a dual opinion about obesity. It may be a personal choice or a moral failure. You may be looking for clinical guidance for obesity. There is a possibility that you’ve tried to manage on your own. All the measures go hand in hand for a complete success. It may be possible you don’t get the desired results. In such case it is advisable to consult your doctor. Discuss the issue and get the needful done.

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