Top 10 Contributing Factors to Obesity


Obesity can be defined as a body weight that is greater than 30% above a favorable target weight. Culture has often blamed obesity on the individual. We assume that people are overweight because of personal failings.

 

Obesity has affected so many Americans, it has reached epidemic levels.
 

There are a number of contributing factors to rapid rise in obesity, WF health experts uncover some major causes.


The Gene, GAD2 : According to the lead researcher Professor Philippe Froguel (from Imperial College London), obesity is a complex problem, which could not be entirely explained by one factor alone. But he said GAD2 may be responsible for obesity in about one in ten seriously overweight people. The Imperial study, of more than 1,200 people, identified two forms of the GAD2 gene. One protected against obesity, the other made it more likely by stimulating the appetite. Thinner volunteers were found to be more likely to carry the protective form of the gene, while the other version was more common in obese people. It seems to stimulate overeating by speeding up production of a chemical messenger in the brain called GABA, or gamma-amino butyric acid. When combined with another molecule GABA stimulates us to eat. However genes do not always predict future health. Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight. In some cases multiple genes may increase oneís susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors; such as abundant food supply or little physical activity.



Snacks can make people obese and high-wired : A poor dietóto high-calorie foods that are widely available, low in cost, heavily promoted, and good tasting. These ingredients produce a predictable, understandable, and inevitable consequenceóan epidemic of diet-related diseases. While such foods are fast and convenient they also tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories. Choosing many foods from these areas may contribute to an excessive calorie intake. Some foods are marketed as healthy, low fat, or fat-free, but may contain more calories than the fat containing food they are designed to replace. It is important to read food labels for nutritional information and to eat in moderation.

 


People who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese and diabetic than those who usually donít, reported by the American Heart Association at their 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. In their study, researchers found that obesity and insulin resistance syndrome rates were 35 percent to 50 percent lower among people who ate breakfast every day compared to those who frequently skipped it.

 


 

 

 

 

Fast food infiltration in our culture : You can drive down the road in many communities and pass five or six service stations, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores in less than a mile. There are fast food restaurants inside some schools. Malls have food courts. Fast foods are showing up on airline flights and in airports. Itís basically everywhere. The food industry spends $30 Billion annually to convince people to eat their products. The problem, is that the industry makes its most if its money through selling highly processed foods.

 




Lack of physical activity : The remote control, video games, the automobile, television, and to some extent the computer are all part of the environment which discourage people from being physically active. Some people live in neighborhoods where they canít go outside because walking or running is too dangerous, and they donít have money to join health clubs. Plus, given that weíre becoming fatter as a society, it becomes less appealing to exercise. Our bodies need calories for daily functions such as breathing, digestion, and daily activities. Weight gain occurs when calories consumed exceed this need. Physical activity plays a key role in energy balance because it uses up calories consumed.



 

 

Food has tremendous social meaning : People can feel like they arenít part of the group if they donít eat like everybody else does. Food also has personal meaning. It can be a personís best friend, and it allows some people to numb out from a difficult world. Some people look forward during the day to being alone with their food in the evening. It represents comfort, soothing, and nurturance that may not come from other people.





Energy imbalance : When the number of calories consumed is not equal to the number of calories used. Energy Balance is like a scale. When calories consumed are greater than calories used weight gain results.

    Weight Gain:
    Calories Consumed > Calories Used

    Weight Loss:
    Calories Consumed < Calories Used

    No Weight Change:

    Calories Consumed = Calories Used

 

Larger Portion sizes : People may be eating more during a meal or snack because of larger portion sizes. This results in increased calorie consumption. If the body does not burn off the extra calories consumed from larger portions, fast food, or soft drinks, weight gain can occur. How do portions today compare to portions sizes 20 years ago? The National Institutes of Health have developed a Web site with an interactive quiz to inform people on the increasing portion sizes.

 


 

Diseases and Drugs : Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing's disease, hypothyroidism, depression and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain. Also, drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may cause weight gain. A doctor is the best source to tell you whether illnesses, medications, or psychological factors are contributing to weight gain or making weight loss hard.

 


Negative Emotions : Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. It has been observed that women with the most severe binge eating problems are also likely to have symptoms of depression and low self-esteem. These women may have more difficulty losing weight and keeping it off than people without binge eating problems. During a binge eating episode, people eat large amounts of food and feel that they cannot control how much they are eating.


 

Early menarche : Early menarche is clearly associated with degree of overweight, with a twofold increase in rate of early menarche associated with BMI greater than the 85th percentile. Effects of age at menarche and race/ethnicity on overweight were estimated via logistic regression, after adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics, in a sample of 6507 Hispanic, Black, White, and Asian American girls who participated in wave 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The Results indicated that, Overweight prevalence rates were significantly higher in early maturing adolescents of all racial/ethnic groups but highest (57.5%) among early maturing Black girls. Early maturation nearly doubled the odds of being overweight (body mass index at or above the 85th percentile)
 

Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1988 through 1991 showed that 23.4 percent of Mexican-American female adolescents aged 12 to 17 years were overweight."


 

Although you cannot change your genetic makeup, you can change your eating habits and levels of activity. Try these techniques that have helped some people lose weight and keep it off:

What was really needed is a campaign to educate our minds - and stomachs. We need urgent action. The time for action is NOW.

 

The solution? It sounds simple: "eat properly and exercise".


Dated 27  September 2012

 


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