CAUSES OF OBESITY
There is usually not one specific causes for obesity in patients. It usually multifactorial and involves and combination of causes or risk factors, including;
- Energy Imbalance: Obesity happens gradually if the amount of energy or calories you consume is more than the amount of energy spent on your daily activities.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: People leading an inactive or sedentary lifestyle are more likely to become obese as they do not burn down the calories they consume.
- Environmental factors: Lack of safe places for exercising and walking (sidewalks or parks), busy work schedule, eating larger food portions, and junk food are contributing factors to gain weight.
- Family history: The genes inherited from your parents have an effect the amount of fat stored in your body and your chances of being obese is higher if one or both your parents are obese. Obesity tends to run in families.
Scientists have discovered several genes, which predispose people to obesity. These genes are the FTO, PCSK1 and ENPP1 genes. This explains why obesity often runs in families and why, for the majority of sufferers, diet and exercise alone are simply ineffective, and patients cannot seem to be able to maintain long term weight loss.
- Excessive Apetite: It is thought that the hunger regulating part of the brain called the hypothalamus does not function correctly in people with obesity. In these people the hypothalamus continues to stimulate hunger and food desire all the time, even when your body has plenty of energy reserves.
This is frequently genetic, and promotes both overeating and poor food choices, and over time leads to obesity.
Another important observation is that people who are constantly hungry often seem drawn toward foods that are rich in calories. Such foods are often high in sugar and fat, such as chocolate, fried foods, and sweets.
- Emotional factors: Unusual eating habits such as excessive eating when under stress or anger. Overeating will cause weight gain.
Comfort eating by turning to food to cope with stress, anxiety and low mood is very common. Chocolate, ice-cream, lollies and chips are usually used as they give a temporary 'hit'. Sometimes a serious or traumatic life event may trigger a person to revert back to using food to help feel better.
- Age: Aging results in muscle loss in the body which is even more if you are inactive. Muscle loss reduces the calorie consumption and consequently uncontrolled diet may increase the chances of becoming obese.
- Disease conditions: Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome may cause weight gain.
- Medicines: Certain medicines such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and seizure medications are known to decrease the rate of metabolism, increase your appetite and retain excess water in the body leading to weight gain.