The 5 Main Causes Of Obesity (And How To Face Them Head On)
Obesity is a serious issue in the United States. In fact, statistics show that 36.5% of adults qualify as obese and that 17% of children are considered obese. A person is considered obese when they have a body mass index or BMI of 30 or higher. People who are obese are at higher risk for diabetes, cardiovascular issues, stroke, cancer, and other morbidities that can be mitigated with weight reduction.
Genetics are a Cause of Obesity
First, genetics are a cause of obesity. Just as trauma, diseases, and other mental health issues can be passed down through a genetic line, so can obesity. Parents who are overweight or who are obese who procreate are more likely to pass those genes on to their offspring through the hormone regulating fat.
This is present in the form of a leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone that is produced in fat cells and controls weight by telling the brain to eat less when we already have plenty of fat. For the overweight and the obese, a deficiency of leptin can be a cause of obesity.
Food Addiction is a Cause of Obesity
Food addiction is another cause of obesity. Food is heavily marketed and is everywhere. It’s associated with our childhoods and with love and sadness. Eating is social as well. Eating is generally pleasurable and thus we experience a release of dopamine when we eat something…especially something that we like…especially something that’s been genetically modified to have such a reaction.
When we get that rush of dopamine, our brain is literally creating a connection between feeling good and that food, so we learn quickly that if we want to feel good, we need to eat more of that food. That’s how addiction begins. Before long, we can’t stop at just two Oreos. It’s three, then four, then the entire sleeve, even when our better judgment and sense of being full begs us to stop.
Processed Foods are a Cause of Obesity
Processed foods are also a cause of obesity, and people who are in socio-economic conditions where fresh, organic foods aren’t readily available or affordable are more likely to consume processed foods. These foods are packed with sugars, salts, and preservatives that can contribute to obesity.
Processed sugars are incredibly dangerous. Not only are they addictive, but they are calorie dense and bereft of nutrients. Multiple books have been written about the dangers of sugar and our health. Sugar is a contributing factor in multiple cases of obesity as well as food addiction. Unfortunately, many of these causes of obesity are interlinked.
Medications & Health Conditions are a Cause of Obesity
Another cause of obesity that many cannot control is medication. Medications and underlying health conditions can lead to unnecessary and incurable weight gain. Specifically, antidepressants, some diabetes medications, some oral contraceptives, many corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and antihistamines lead to weight gain.
These on top of other issues including personality disorders, mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, anger, etc. can compound leading to overeating disorders, food addiction, sugar addiction, etc. Sadly, depression and mental health issues can also be caused by being obese, which results in an infinity loop of frustration and poor physical and mental health.
Physical Inactivity is a Cause of Obesity
Lastly, of the main causes of obesity, physical activity is among them. While food, genetics, and mental health play major roles, physical activity or a lack thereof does as well. Many who are obese struggle with mobility issues. Many are also self-conscious and may avoid going to the gym, going outside, engaging in physical activity, etc. for fear of popping up on someone’s TikTok page or of being made fun of.
Many obese adults were overweight children and are therefore self-conscious about their bodies to the extent that doing what’s safe…staying home and comfort eating becomes all-consuming.
Importantly, as in the case of consuming processed foods, many who are obese due to lack of activity are so because they live in environments where it’s not safe to leave their home to procure healthier food options; it may not be safe to walk to the store, or they may not be able to afford transportation.
Tackling Obesity Head On—How to Lose Weight
It’s important to bear in mind that while you or someone you love may be obese, it’s not a reflection of a failing or flaw inherent in you. As noted, nearly half of the country qualifies as obese. That said, though, while no one individual factor is at fault for the causes of obesity, handling the issue is something that has to be faced head on.
You may be wondering how to lose weight if you’re obese as the problem seems multifaceted. While it is, this is why you contact a health professional who is experienced working with people who may have several reasons that they are obese and may need help learning how to lose weight safely and successfully. It’s definitely doable, but it takes mental fortitude, a willingness to commit, and a readiness to change. While many are not happy with their weight, they are not ready to take the life-changing steps it takes to actually lose weight.
Fear of change is one of the biggest impediments, but by confronting your situation head on and knowing that you deserve to live a long, healthy life full of confidence and opportunities, you can identify the reasons for your obesity struggles and lose the weight you want to lose.
If you are serious about tackling your obesity head on and want to know more about how to lose weight when you are obese, contact Spatz Medical. Our revolutionary gastric balloon is accessible for patients with a BMI of 27 or higher and has proven results.