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Causes of Obesity

By Emily Lockhart

Regardless if obesity is an imbalance of body fat versus muscle fat or between the calories one consumes and the energy one burns, it is a North American epidemic that doesn’t just affect adults–it affects children as well.

Evidence points to a multitude of factors that can cause or lead to ever-growing obesity rates, including:

1. Genetics
The fact is that if your parents are obese, you will be as well. However, keep in mind that you can’t blame it all on genes as overweight parents tend to teach their children their poor dietary and lifestyle habits, which suggests environment is just as much at fault.

2. Environment
Although genetic makeup can predispose a person to becoming overweight, the lifestyle behaviours you learn and develop as children also greatly impact obesity and your ability to maintain a healthy weight. Factors such as  diet and activity level can greatly impact weight. For instance, relying on processed, convenience foods and inactivity  can greatly impact weight.

3. Food knowledge
Knowing a nutritious food from a processed fatty food can make all the difference as well when it comes to portion control. However, if you choose fresh whole foods over high fat  and sugar foods, and know how to read food labels, it can help you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Metabolism
Metabolism, which refers to the body’s ability to break down and harvest energy, can trigger increased appetite due to an  illness like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, depression, and neurologic problems. Certain medications, like steroids or antidepressants, can also lower the metabolism, trigger increased appetite and cause excessive weight gain.

5. Psychological influences
Most people don’t overeat when they’re hungry; they overeat or rely on convenience foods when they’re stressed, bored, sad, or angry. Binge eating, or no control over food intake, tends to occur for emotional rather than physical factors, and many  need professional help (i.e., counseling ) to control their dependant eating habits and manage a healthy weight.

Emily Lockhart

Contributor

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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