What are the Root Causes of Obesity

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Over the last few decades, the world has seen an upheaval in not only the field of medicine but also in associated lifestyle related afflictions. Major studies have gone into the root cause of various such illnesses which are in fact the fringe effects of other, deep rooted, medical conditions. One such condition which is a cause of concern all across the globe today is obesity.

Obesity or weight gain is a condition that is engulfing a major part of the world population in its fold. Today it is a cause of concern not only among adults but also among young children. Children in many of the developed and developing countries are suffering from the ill effects that obesity brings about. It is a big cause of health related anxiety and distresses that majority of the population in the US and also other countries are trying to deal with.

What is obesity?

Obesity is an abnormality in the structure of a human body. It is a medical condition which entails excessive accumulation of fat in the body, so much so that it starts having repercussions on the health of an individual. So how do you determine whether a person is obese or not. To understand this you need to understand the concept of BMI or body mass index.

Body mass index is the yardstick that determines whether you are normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s body weight in kilograms by his height in metres and then squared off. This determines your body fat levels based on your height and weight. If a person has a BMI between 25 and 30 or even greater, it is a clear indication that he or she is overweight.

Root Causes of Obesity

1 Heredity

Many people are genetically predisposed towards obesity and have little or no control over it. Genes play big part in not only the overall appearance of the individual but also in his behavioural patterns which go on to determine his physical structure. For instance, your genes may dictate your food habits, whether you have an inclination to over indulge in food or an inactive disposition which causes fat to accumulate. It may also dictate your metabolism. A low metabolic rate also makes you susceptible to burning less body fat leading to obesity.

2 Fast food culture

The fast foods culture and practice of eating out has grown several folds since the past few decades. With several fast food chains opening their doors, it has become very convenient and easy to fit in a quick bite in a busy schedule. Drive through food outlets, to go or takeaway options, ordering in or simply hopping into a nearby outlet while going shopping or running some other errand, has become extremely opportune in today’s fast life. Doing this too often or making a habit out of it is a big concern for obesity.

3 Ever changing lifestyle

Closely associated with and a big reason for the growth of fast food chains today is the altering lifestyles of people. Busy schedules, stressful and fast lives are conducive to the fast food culture. People prefer to eat out more and more rather than go through the rigours of time consuming processes of home cooking.

4 Medication

Certain medications have the property of increasing weight, though the degree in which it affects your health may vary from medicine to medicine and consumer to consumer. Some medicines taken as anti anxiety or anti depressants or even mood enhancing medications especially have properties that contribute to weight gain. Certain medicines when taken increase your appetite and some induce a tendency towards getting sedentary, all leading to an increase in weight.

5 Added sugar

A large number of products consumed frequently by the masses today, like sweetened drinks, aerated beverage, sweetened cereals etc have a high content of added sugar. These generally tend to only high in calories with very little to contribute in terms of protein or fibre content or any other nutritional value. This affects your appetite in ways that lead to overeating. It also increases the blood sugar level which in turn leads to insulin and Leptin resistance, which affects the body’s ability to regulate the intake and  burning of calories. All these factors lead to weight gain and obesity.

6 Lack of physical activity/ de-motivated disposition/ negativity

Technology today is making life simpler by the day in the sense that you are getting all comforts at your disposal just with the click of a finger, literally so. The physical labour that goes behind doing daily household chores, running errands, climbing stairs, walking to offices, playing outdoors with kids are all a thing of the past and seldom seen today. The irony of the matter is, despite such comforts being easily available the mental and emotional complexities know no bounds. This leads to frustration, depression, negativity and anxiety which only fuels overindulgence in comfort foods, leading to obesity.

Obesity-in-Children Causes

Developed nations like the United States and now even in other parts of the world, statistics show a staggering percentage of children are affected by obesity. About one in every five children between the age of six and nineteen are obese. This is indeed a grave concern for nations as obese children tend to grow up to be obese adults affecting the health of any thriving society.

There are several reasons behind obesity in children like…

  • Babies get weaned off too soon. Breast milk prevent obesity in children and stopping breastfeeding too soon can have ill effects on the well being of a child
  • Too much screen time is another cause. The growing addiction to television, computer and mobile phones is a bane to society as it restricts physical activity greatly.
  • Inaccessibility to parks and playgrounds has made children couch potatoes. The concrete jungle that you live in today has caused us to be engulfed within it more than it has contributed. Drop in the number of play areas where children can run around and play has proved to be quite unhealthy for their growing years. Thus, children are falling prey to unwanted obesity.
  • Junk food and irregular snacking is giving rise to increased rate of obesity among children. The amount of junk food that children today consume has taken its toll on the overall health system.
  • Lack of good physical education in schools has made children unaware of the importance of physical activities and its correlation to fitness. Good physical education has taken a backseat over “more important” career pursuits and is done, if at all, in name only.
  • Sleep deprivation is another trigger. Not getting enough sleep due to academic pressures is another cause of concern among young children. This is another factor that leads to obesity.

Obesity has its implications both in the short and the long run. In the short run, it can cause you to get derided bullied leading to depression, disillusionment and a low self esteem. It can gave long term health implications like diabetes, cholesterol and heart diseases, high blood pressure and in some cases even certain types of cancer. It is extremely important to delve deep into its root causes and nips them in the bud to create not only a healthy individual but also a healthy nation

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