With daily focus in America on weight, health and obesity, there is one question that gets ignored: what causes obesity?
There is no simple answer.
Basically, a person becomes obese when more calories are consumed than he or she can burn. This is called “calorie imbalance.” Beyond this simple definition, the factors that cause obesity are varied and many.
Calorie imbalance has many things that affect it. What causes this imbalance varies from one person to another. We also know obesity is more than just over-eating. Genetic, environmental, psychological, and other factors seem to play big roles in causing obesity.
Here are some factors that have been attributed to obesity:
1. Weight Gain During Certain Periods
A person commonly gains more weight during the following periods of life: between 12 and 18 months of age, between 12 and 16 years of age, adulthood when a person gains in excess of 60% of their ideal body weight and women, during pregnancy.
2. Genetic Factors
Heredity is linked to obesity. Studies of adopted children show that adopted children tend to have weights closer to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents.
3. Environmental Factors
Environment also strongly influences obesity. This includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and level of physical activity. The tendency to eat high-fat foods, to use labor saving devices coupled with a sedentary lifestyle are causes behind obesity.
4. Psychological Factors
Many people eat when they are stressed, bored or angry. Over time, the association between an emotion and food can become firmly fixed.
Depression and stress can also lead to obesity and are leading causes of eating disorders. Studies show most overweight people have no more psychological problems than people of average weight.
Most eating disorders can also be traced to behavioral or psychological difficulties. Up to 10 percent of people who are mildly obese and who try to lose weight on their own or through commercial weight loss programs have binge eating disorder. This disorder is even more common in people who are severely obese.
Metabolism slows down with advancing age. As you get older you do not require as many calories to maintain your weight as you did when you were younger.
If you know about these factors you are in a better position to cope with the life cycles and manage your weight without getting into the problems of obesity.