The Brutal Truth: The 8 Causes of Obesity

By now we’ve all heard that America is the most obese country in the world. Every news program and afternoon talk show has produced a segment on the growing obesity epidemic. But, are you clear on what obesity really means?

What is Obesity?

The simple definition is that obesity happens when a person has an access of total body fat in proportion to the muscle mass. Most commonly, an overweight person is considered to have obesity, when their weight is around 20% or greater of what should be their normal weight.

We have all heard of the body mass index or BMI. The BMI is the standard that many will use in determining just how obese someone is. Normally, a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 constitutes being overweight. Those of the BMI of over 30 are considered to be obese.

Unfortunately in today’s society, many people fall into the category of morbid obesity. This is when you have a BMI of 40 or greater or about 50-100% above normal weight recommendations.

What causes obesity?

The easy answer is that obesity happens when you eat more calories than you burn. The modern world eats too much and does little in the way of exercising. Of course, this is an oversimplification, but here are some other factors in obesity:

  1. Age. Unfortunately your metabolism slows down with your age. The calorie demand that your body requires for overall function begins to decrease.
  2. Gender. Females have a tendency to be more in the overweight range than men. This is due to the fact that men have a level of resting metabolic rate than women.
  3. Genetics. This is something that you have no control over. It is passed onto you from your parents. In this case, your mother has everything to do with whether or not you’re predisposed to being heavy. There’s a 75% chance that you may also become obese. The inverse is true for those with thin mothers. One quick caveat, there are multiple examples of people who have had heavy parents, but they themselves turn out to be physically fit.
  4. Lifestyle. Some factors of obesity may be your environment, but lifestyle choices such as what types of food you eat, and the amount of activity that you get each day are more important.
  5. Physical activity. Those who participate in regular physical activity and increase metabolism and burn more fat than sedentary individuals.
  6. Emotions. For many, psychological factors come into play. Emotional eaters overeat in response to how they feel. Just like any other type of addict, a good day or a bad day can both become a reason to overindulge.
  7. Sickness. This is an association that many do not made with weight gain or obesity and that is the fact that many diseases can cause obesity. Depression and hypothyroidism are just two examples.
  8. Drugs. Many medications such as steroids can cause massive weight gain.

The Impacts of Obesity

Obesity is a life threatening disorder. Not only is there a psychological impact on the individual that has obesity, but there is an impact on society as well. This is due to the multiple complications that arise from obesity itself. Obesity has been linked to higher cancer rates, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteopathic disorders, to name a few consequences of overeating.

If you are overweight or have been diagnosed with obesity, you must make a choice. That choice is to either suffer the inevitable consequences of obesity or do something about it. Consulting your physician is the first step in making a positive choice for your health.

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