So far, medical professionals have identified plenty of causes of obesity.
However, to answer what causes obesity briefly, one can say that a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental conditions are at play.
Here are the major causes of obesity:
The genetic make-up of a person can play a significant role in fat regulation. For instance, genetics affects the production of certain hormones that help in the fat regulation process.
For example, leptin is a hormone that regulates fat in the body. It controls weight by informing the brain to eat less when there is extra fat stored. However, for some, the quantity of this hormone is insufficient. It is because of their genetic make-up.
Therefore, the body loses control of fat regulation and obesity sets in.
2. Physical Inactivity
It is common knowledge that a lack of physical activity is one of the major causes of obesity. Those who live sedentary lives burn fewer calories than those who live active lives with regular exercise. In fact, research shows a strong positive correlation between weight gain in both sexes and no physical activity.
3. Social Issues
Social issues as one of the silent causes of obesity are relatively unacknowledged. People often do not have the money to buy healthy food, nor do they have access to parks to exercise.
4. Complications From Other Diseases
Obesity is known to be a common complication of certain conditions such as:
- Cushing's syndrome
- Insulin resistance
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
Taking certain medicines can lead to obesity. Some common categories of these medications are:
- Diabetic medications
- Oral contraceptives
- High blood pressure medicines
Side effects of taking these medications may result in obesity.
6. Psychological Factors
Emotions affect eating habits. People may eat because of excessive negative emotions, such as stress, anger, depression, sadness, or low self-esteem. However, there is no correlation between the two, and it is wholly an individual choice. However, around 30% of the people suffering from obesity are known to binge eat.
7. Diet High in Carbs
The wrong food choice is one of the reasons for obesity. For instance, simple sugars are more easily absorbed by the bloodstream, causing a quick insulin release. This insulin spike converts simple sugars into fat. Therefore, scientists believe that this fast conversion causes fat accumulation to occur rapidly. Therefore, foods rich in simple sugars such as desserts, soft drinks, wine and beer should be avoided to prevent obesity.
8. Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is another silent cause of obesity. Sleep deprivation significantly increases the risk of obesity in children and adults. Lack of sleep leads to hormonal changes, which increases appetite. For instance, ghrelin, a hormone that causes an increase in appetite, is released when a person does not sleep. Moreover, a lack of sleep can lead to a decrease in leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.