Obesity is a medical condition in which a person deposit excess amount of fat in their body. The rate of obesity is on rise dramatically since 1980. It has almost doubled since this time and as of now, over 200 million obese men and 300 million obese women lives around the globe.
Fundamentally, obesity is a condition when people consume more calories than they burn. There are several contributing factors such as lack of proper physical activity, lack of adequate sleep, certain genetic contribution and certain medical drugs that slower the metabolic rate, increases appetite or cause more water retention.
Here is list of causes that leads to obesity:
1. Inactive lifestyle
Most of the Indians are physically inactive. Instead of doing some kind of exercise, they spend several hours in front of television and computer, either as a part of work or leisure. As a matter of fact, it has been found that more than 2 hours a day of watching TV has connections with overweight and obesity. Using elevators and escalator instead of climbing stairs, relying on cars instead of walking are some of the choices people makes everyday that contributes in becoming first overweight and then ultimately obese.
2. Genetic factor
Gene possess a strong influence on a person’s weight. Trend of overweight and obesity runs in family. If someone’s either or both parents are overweight, their chances of being overweight also increases.
Since family members share food, children tends to adopt parent’s habit. If a child has overweight parents, who stills consume high calorie food and are physically inactive, the child’s chances of being overweight increases drastically and vice verse.
3. Medication and Health Condition
Certain medicines such as antidepressants and seizure medicines leads to weight gain. These slow down the rate of burning of calories and increases appetite.
There are few medical conditions that aids in gaining weight, such as
i. Hypothyroidism- Conditions of under-active thyroid gland, that reduces metabolism and causes fatigue
ii. Cushing’s syndrome- Overproduction of adrenal gland hormone that leads to fat deposit in upper body, face and neck.
iii. Prader-willi syndrome- A rare condition in which a person never feel full, and always have craving for food.
4. Situational Factors
For several people, their surrounding environment does not support healthy lifestyle, instead they encourages obesity, some of such factors are as follows:
i. Working schedule- Due to long working hours, several people cannot manage time to do exercise.
ii. Safety and Accessibility- Lack of safe and accessible parks and sidewalks, makes it difficult to be physically active.
iii. Food advertising and easy availability of junk food- People are exposed to junk food abundantly, let it be movie hall or supermarket, the number of shops selling junk food is mushrooming everywhere. Food advertising is yet another contributing factor for obesity. Often children and youngsters become targets of advertisement of high-calorie, snacks and drinks.
iv. Peer pressure- Several studies have found that obesity tends to ‘spread’ among friends. In friends circle, people share similar background and tend to carry out similar food habits and activities together.
5. Other factors
i. Pregnancy- During pregnancy, women often gain weight and after delivery it becomes difficult to shed it. After multiple pregnancies, this may lead to overweight or obesity
ii. Emotional factors- Some people tends to eat more when they are bored or stressed. With time, this can lead to overweight or obesity.
iii. Lack of sleep- Sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance between hormones ghrelin (hunger causing) and leptin (feeling full), when a person does not get adequate sleep, the level of ghrelin rises and leptin falls. Sleep also affect how body reacts to insulin. Lack of sleep results in higher blood sugar level and increase the risk of diabetes.