Obesity is a term everyone is acquainted with. Over the years, it has escalated from a disease to a global epidemic. Around two billion people across the world are diagnosed with obesity. That number accounts for almost 30% of the world’s population. Poor eating habits most take the blame for obesity. However, that is not the case. There can be many causes behind a person being overweight and if we intend to study the condition, we must take all of them into account. Not to mention, causes may sometimes differ from contributing factors, which is what this article is about. We talk about what factors add to one’s obesity here.
- Poor eating habits
Since these are the ones with all the blame, it is fair enough to talk about them first. Poor eating habits, as mentioned before, can make an enormous difference in people’s weight. This includes eating higher than healthy amounts of unhealthy foods. Foods that contain substantial amounts of fat or carbohydrates, processed food, snacks, and carbonated drinks make good examples. It is necessary to mention that this does not mean a healthy diet will ensure you do not gain weight.
- Sedentary lifestyle
Any kind of diet with physical inactivity makes an extremely dangerous combination in the world of obesity. In a world where comfort is the topmost priority, it keeps getting difficult for people to find enough motivation. In other terms, we can say that when consumption exceeds necessity, weight gain follows. And if that persists for long, it takes the name of obesity. Your daily intake of calories should not be more than your daily requirement of calories. If it does exceed, you should include a little physical activity in your daily routine. Physical inactivity contributes to obesity enormously.
- Sleeping problems
Nevertheless, it is important to note that behavioral factors extend far more than this. Lack of sleep should also be considered. There are some hormones released only during sleep that play a big part in deciding our eating habits. These hormones regulate hunger. The lack of sleep translates into a decreased amount of these hormones, leading to an increased need to eat.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
When talking about the behavioral factors, no one can miss the universal unhealthy habits. Smoking and alcohol take an equal part in contributing to weight gain. They put in motion various mechanisms in our body that can cause lethargy. This eventually contributes to weight gain.
This comes as the savior for many people who want to avoid taking the blame for being overweight. It gets even better if they have a family history. Yet others use this as an excuse to avoid exercise and occasionally, some ted talks from fitness freak friends. It is true, as many already know, that presence of genes responsible for obesity significantly predisposes a person to obesity. Even when one takes all the possible precautions to prevent falling in the clutches of obesity, it would make no difference if the specific genes are dominant in them.
If you are wondering what kind of evil genes these are, allow us to introduce you to GAD 2, Leptin, Leptin receptor, ADIPOQ, Fat mass, and obesity-associated gene among various others. Many of these are produced by the fat cells and promote the intake of food. GAD 2, specifically, stimulates your appetite and with some other acids and molecules, triggers you to eat. While it is no fault of your own, you cannot deny the reality.
Negative emotions are something you cannot completely avoid however hard you try. Many times, we eat not because we are hungry. Everyone is familiar with this feeling. Food becomes our comfort food in sad, lonely times. We want to eat whenever we feel anything from bored too anxious. And more importantly, in blue days, the power to resist eating drops considerably. And since we cannot control the coming of such emotions, it is ok if we do not let it become a habit and maintain physical activity.
Our psyche controls how we feel more than what you might believe. Many psychological conditions contribute to obesity and gaining weight. Stress, clinical depression, and anxiety among other psychological disorders promote weight gain. Binge eating is a psychological disorder. People struggling with anxiety or depression often seek refuge in food. Eating is the way for many people to fight loneliness. Besides other factors, such disorders significantly add to weight gain.
It might be a mistake to ignore the very environment we live in while talking about contributing factors to obesity. A major part of the environment would be one’s socioeconomic status. Access to food and the quality of that food is a remarkable contributor. When supply is more, demand goes up gradually. People’s diet keeps changing following the supply at various times. The physical environment has a hand in this too.
Since our bodies are involved, medicine is inevitably present. There are some medical conditions, diseases that can be instrumental in weight gain. To name a few, Hypothyroidism, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and Cushing syndrome are such diseases. Some conditions that are not diseases but can cause weight gain could be menopause, pregnancy-related, post-partum, low amounts of testosterone, etc. Besides diseases, some pharmaceuticals can also have a hand in contributing to obesity. Drugs such as corticosteroids, some steroids, certain psychiatric drugs, and some antidepressants make it to the list. Reward system pathways in our nervous systems and certain hormones are also guilty of causing obesity.
One of the lesser-known criminals is age-inappropriate menarche. The degree of overweight relates to the age of menarche. Modern researchers have found that age, however unlikely it may sound, does take a toll on the chances of being overweight. The obesity rates were notably high in adolescents who matured too early. What is more, is that the prospects of obesity are as much as doubled in early maturing adolescents.
Do not get tense and enjoy life!
If you suspect your predisposition to obesity due to any of the above-mentioned reasons, we advise you to not get tense. You can always contact your doctor and find out if some illness or some medications are exposing you to obesity. There is gene therapy for you to look up if any obesity-related genes are present and dominant. If obesity and the contributing factors are genetic or due to illnesses, you cannot control them, can you? Therefore, you should let the medical professionals do their part and you do your part, that is, keep your stress level as low as possible. On the other hand, if the reasons are some that are in your hand, try to not let them get out of your hand. Keep your diet under check. Maintain a regular and effective exercise regime. It is best to not let the contributing factors take control.