Genetics: People whose parents are obese are more likely to be obese. Genetics affect hormones such as leptin that is essential for managing fat. Leptin helps weight regulation by signaling the brain to eat less and its deficiency can cause obesity. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) also makes kids obese.
Overeating: When one develops the habit of eating emotionally more than what is actually needed and if the diet includes high fat concentration, he experiences gain in weight. Foods rich in fat have high calorie density and epidemiologic studies have also shown that these contribute to obesity. Dieting can only be the obesity solutions in such cases.
Slow Metabolism: Metabolism means the biochemical process that regulates normal body functioning. Our muscles burn more calories. As we grow old loss of muscles happens and it slows the metabolism process and as such we tend to gain weight at old age if calorie intake is not controlled.
Poor diet: The obesity epidemic causes many complications but these never happen overnight. Weight gain develops over time at first slowly and then at a faster rate due to poor diet plan. If one drinks alcohol heavily and also indulging in eating out a lot foods containing excessive fat and carbohydrates with beverages, obesity is sure to follow.
Medical reasons: Certain medicines, including some corticosteroids used in epilepsy & diabetes, antidepressants, medicines used in schizophrenia treatment can contribute to serious weight gain and obesity. Moreover underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome may also result obesity.
Physical inactivity: Lack of physical activity also contributes to be obese. There are jobs that keep one glued to the desk for long hours. Such inactivity is the root cause for obesity. Childhood obesity causes and effects due physical inactivity become predominant in later life.
Environment: Being a social animal the decisions taken by us are always influenced by environment and community decisions are no exceptions to this. It is therefore essential to create an environment for being more physically active and eating healthy.
Behavioral factor: Some behavioral factors can also cause obesity. For example if someone has habit of eating some particular snack while watching the evening news, and if these behaviors are paired regularly it causes so strong association that watching news will trigger craving for the particular snack.
Psychological factor: People suffering from psychological disorders find it difficult to control their food intake. They resort to comfort eating to tide over any stress or anxiety and elevate their mood. The resulted weight gain may cause dysphoric mood due to the inability to control stress and the cycle repeats making condition worse.
Socioeconomic status: Obesity is also related to socioeconomic status. It was observed that obesity is related socioeconomic status or SES. In countries in the lower-income group, people with higher SES tend to be obese and in high-income countries, people with higher SES are unlikely to be obese.
It is vital to know obesity causes what health problems and the followings will be curtain raiser.
Diabetes: The type 2 diabetes is mostly influenced by obesity. Risk of having diabetes increases manifolds in persons having diabetes. Fats in the waist region secrete hormones and other substances that cause inflammation. Such inflammation can change the process of metabolism resulting diabetes and other complications.
Cardiovascular Disease: Increase in body weight or being obese increases the risk of having several cardiovascular diseases. With increase in BMI, Triglycerides, BP, LDL and blood sugar also increase making one vulnerable to various ailments like coronary artery disease, stroke and cardiovascular death to a considerable extent. Only 5 to 10% reduction of body weight can reverse the situation.
Cancer: obesity causes diseases of different types. Though the correlation between obesity and cancer has not yet been universally established, The World Cancer Research Fund and The American Institute for cancer research inferred that there is convincing influence of obesity on cancers of the pancreas, colon, esophagus, breast, rectum etc. The Nurses’ Health Study has also found that when the over-weight women loose weight after menopause, it reduces their post menopausal risk by 50 percent.
Lung Function/Respiratory Disease: Having excessive body weight impairs respiratory function. Asthma and obstructive sleep apnea are directly linked with obesity. Due to accumulation of abdominal fat may hamper lowering of the diaphragm that ultimately limits expansion of lungs. Moreover accumulation of visceral fat can also reduce flexibility of the chest wall and clog air passages in the lungs resulting malfunction of the lungs and respiratory diseases.
Depression, mood swings and deterioration of quality of life: Studies revealed that people with obesity are more vulnerable to have mental depression than people with healthy body weights. As obesity activates inflammation, it causes changes in the hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal glands. Studies conducted also demonstrated that obesity is linked with reduced HRQoL or health related quality of life.
Memory and Cognitive Function: Messing with the brain obesity diminishes memory function, thinking and reasoning capability as well. Increased body weight is also a potential risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Extensive studies conducted indicated a U-shaped link between BMI and Alzheimer’s disease.
As excessive weight put excessive pressures on bones, joints and muscles, it can result musculoskeletal disorders. Obesity also makes one vulnerable to back ache, pain of lower limb and disability.
Obesity can cause various problems in the process of reproduction starting from sexual activity to delivery. Infertility is predominant in obese women. Obesity also increases the risk of miscarriage and other complications. In men, obesity may cause low sperm count and impaired sperm motility. Obesity also causes erectile dysfunction in some cases.
Quite a number of additional health problems like gallstones, gout, fatty liver and kidney problem are also associated with obesity.
As obesity causes many health disorders, it also shortens the life span and increases incidences of premature mortality. Moreover it has been found that childhood obesity causes premature death.