The definition “overweight” refers to body weight that’s greater than what is considered healthy for certain height – it means having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Overweight causes can be different.
Overweight usually happens over time when you take in more calories than you use. Actually the lack of energy balance can cause overweight. Being overweight is common in cases when food consumption are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary.
Every woman with additional weight is trying to find why she became overweight.
Overweight causes – “It must be my glands”
Like many people who are overweight, you might feel that you don’t eat a lot. You might think that your weight problems must be due to something else, such as a “slow metabolism” or your “glands.”
Some medical conditions can make you more likely to put on weight. But you can only become obese by eating more calories than your body uses.
Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and medications such as steroids make it more likely that you’ll put on weight. Some conditions make you feel hungrier. Other conditions slow down your metabolic rate, so you use fewer calories. And some of these conditions affect your glands.
If you have one of these conditions, you might find it more difficult to keep your weight down. It’s important to get medical help.
Overweight causes – “But I don’t eat that much”
The bad news is that you only have to eat slightly more calories than you use for the weight to add up.
- The average American over age 25 takes in only 0.3 percent more energy than they use each day. This about 150 calories, which is the number of calories in a small soda.
- Over time, this extra energy adds up. It’s stored as fat.
- By the age of 55, that average American has gained 20 pounds.
If the amount of fat in your body increases gradually, your body doesn’t seem to notice that you’re putting on weight. Your appetite might stay the same.
Overweight causes – lifestyle
There are two things about our Western lifestyle that are linked to more and more people becoming obese – modern fast-food culture and lack of physical activity.
Obesity and lifestyle
Because we’re less active than people were in the past, and because fatty and sugary foods are so widely available, it’s very easy to gain weight. Some doctors think it would make a difference if unhealthy foods were more clearly labeled. Others think that fast-food ads aimed at children should be banned. These things might make it easier for people to eat a healthy diet and avoid being overweight. But you’d still need to make sure you didn’t eat more calories than you needed.
Overweight causes – why me?
Anybody can become obese if they eat more calories than they use. But there are certain things that make this more likely. These are called risk factors. Some of these you can control, others you can’t.
Here are some of the things that make it more likely that you’ll become obese. It’s probably a combination of these factors that lead to obesity in most people.
Overweight causes – Your parents and your genes
You’re at risk of obesity if one or both of your parents is overweight or obese. This might be because you share the same genes as your parents. Or it could be because family members tend to eat the same things and have a similar lifestyle.
Your genes are the parts of your cells that contain instructions for how your body works. Genes are housed on chromosomes, structures that sit in the nucleus at the middle of each of your cells. You have 23 pairs of chromosomes in your normal cells, each of which has thousands of genes. You get one set of chromosomes, and all of the genes that are on them, from each of your parents.
Genes are in every cell in your body. They tell cells how to grow and what to do. The ob gene tells the cells in your body that store fat to make a chemical called leptin. Leptin tells the brain how hungry or how full you feel. It also helps your body burn the food you eat to keep you warm.
Researchers think that some people who are obese might have a faulty ob gene. So these people don’t make enough leptin. This makes it harder for them to control how much they eat because they don’t sense when they feel hungry or full. This makes them more likely to be obese.
But this problem is rare. Most people with obesity don’t have this problem.
Overweight causes – comfort eating
You might eat too much as a way of dealing with painful or difficult emotions. Perhaps you eat when you feel unhappy or bored, even if you don’t feel hungry. This is often called comfort eating. It can be hard to break this habit.
You might also eat too much if you have a mental health condition, such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder or if you feel bad about yourself (have low self-esteem).
Depression is a mental illness in which your mood is low and you feel sad much of the time. It can range from a mild illness through to a severe one in which you lose interest in life and may be suicidal.
If you have this psychological illness, you feel anxious and worried most of the time. You may have other symptoms, such as feeling tired or being indecisive. Worrying this much can make you ill and make it hard to live a normal life. There are good treatments for anxiety disorder.
Overweight causes – other risk factors
Many things make it more likely that you’ll gain too much weight. If you’re overweight, there’s a risk you might become obese.
- Your sex: Women are slightly more likely to be overweight than men are.
- Your ethnic group: Women who are Mexican-American or African-American are particularly at risk.
- Age: Men and women are most likely to gain weight between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Menopause: The changes in levels of hormones during menopause can make it easier to gain weight.
- Drinking too much alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are high in calories.
- Quitting smoking: Quitting smoking is good for your health, but you might gain weight afterward.
- Being married: Married people are more likely to be overweight than those who stay single.
- Having children: Women are likely to gain about 2 pounds each time they have a baby.
- Poor education: People who do less well at school are more likely to get obese later in life.
Some medical conditions and drugs can also increase your chances of being obese.
(information from – http://www.consumerreports.org/health/conditions-and-treatments/obesity/what-is-it.htm)
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