Here’s the crux on perception. Have you seen 2 year olds that are obese? Over the past 20 years there has been a huge increase in toddlers that have obesity.
Did their parents feed them poorly? Perhaps a few did but genetics, metabolism, and hormones can all affect one’s weight, but regardless, when a person consumes more calories than they burn, the excess calories are stored as fat. People who struggle with weight are sometimes emotional eaters, and their condition also causes them to eat more before feeling full, and feel hungry soon after eating. American food exacerbates the problems, with fast food and sugary drinks being a popular and easy choice.
Genetics and Socialization
Obesity is often seen in families, due to both genetic factors and learned behaviors. The amount of fat a body stores, how efficiently it converts calories into energy, and regulation of appetite can be affected by one’s genes. Children also learn eating and exercise habits from their parents, which can greatly affect their weight. A key here is that if a parent doesn’t think they are obese they typically won’t understand that there child is obese.
Please review our section on processed sugar. Sugar is by far the leading factor on lifestyle food influence. It is highly addictive and very difficult to control. Diet (including beverages) and activity are the major lifestyle factors affecting weight gain. High-calorie food like fast food, large portions, and a lack of fruits and vegetables all contribute to weight gain. Alcohol and sugary drinks, which are often consumed regardless of hunger, can add a lot of unhealthy calories to one’s diet. Finally, a sedentary lifestyle including hours per day in a chair at work, and at home after work makes it easy to burn fewer calories than one consumes.
Obesity from other Diseases and Medications
Some diseases, medications, and other conditions can lead to obesity and any condition that leads to less exercise, like arthritis or chronic pain can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and eventual obesity. Steroids, beta blockers, anti-seizure medication, diabetes medication, antipsychotics, and some antidepressants can also cause weight gain.
Low income urban neighborhoods are factors and are directly linked to obesity. For example, less affluent neighborhoods are more likely to be “food deserts” without ready access to healthy food, and they are less likely to have safe places to exercise. It comes down many times to opportunities and how families use free time to incorporate a healthy lifestyle.
Other Risk Factors
Smoking cessation is a common cause of weight gain, because eating is a way to distract from the urge to smoke. A doctor can help with a plan to quit smoking without gaining weight.
Quality of sleep can impact one’s weight. Both lack of sleep and too much sleep can trigger hormonal changes that affect one’s appetite, and even change the kinds of food cravings one has.
While even children can be obese, hormonal changes and decreases in activity associated with age increase the risk. Muscle mass decreases with age, leading to metabolic shifts that make it more difficult to keep weight off.
Stress can be a major factor in weight gain. Not only do people eat more when stressed, they may exercise less
Weight gain is healthy and normal during pregnancy, but sometimes hard to shed post-partum. Breast-feeding burns calories and is an excellent way to lose post-pregnancy weight.
Gut bacteria (microbiome) can affect weight, and a lack of microbial diversity can lead to weight gain. This can usually be remedied with a healthy diet.
Yoyo dieting and frequent inconsistent attempts to lose weight can slow metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.
As can be found many places at our website, obesity puts people at risk for a number of health problems. Think of the 80/60/40 rule. This rules shows that 80% of diabetics have obesity, 60% of heart patients have obesity, and finally 40% of cancer victims have obesity. Although you never really hear it in those terms obesity is a cause to many other chronic diseases. It can cause high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which can then lead to heart disease or stroke. Type 2 diabetes is the result obesity changing the way a body controls blood sugar with insulin. Obesity also raises the risk of several forms of cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, live, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, and prostate. The digestive system is also affected by obesity, with a greater instance of heartburn, gallbladder disease and liver conditions among obese patients. For women, obesity can lead to infertility and irregular menstrual cycles, and for men, it can cause erectile dysfunction. Obesity affects one’s quality of sleep, with obese people more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Finally, because of the strain of bearing extra weight, osteoarthritis is a common ailment in obese people.
For many reasons, obesity can diminish a person’s quality of life. Obese people can face discrimination both in the workplace and in their social lives. They may avoid participating in activities, or going out in public. Obesity may cause people to suffer from depression, disabilities, sexual problems, shame, guilt, and isolation.