Obesity is a major health concern for many people in today’s society, and there are plenty of factors at work that determines why people are overweight.
In simplest terms, the number of calories you consume, store, and burn determines your weight. However, how you gain or maintain your weight depends on factors involving your environment and genetics. These two factors can affect your physiology and behavior, which can determine how fast you burn the calories or what foods you choose to eat.
A person’s genes can contribute to obesity in a variety of ways, such as affecting:
• Satiety (or the sense of fullness)
• Food cravings
• Body fat distribution
With over 400 different genes known to contribute, it can be difficult for people to avoid becoming overweight or obese. For example, people are 22% more likely to have a BMI higher than 30 if they have two copies of the Insig-2 gene variant.
While genetic factors contribute to you gaining weight and staying overweight, environmental factors only add to the problem.
Here are just a few environmental factors that can contribute to obesity:
• Babies born to mothers that smoked during pregnancy are more likely to become overweight
• Babies born to mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy are also more likely to become overweight
• Babies who are breast-fed for just three months or less are more likely to be obese as adolescents
• Children that eat processed, high-calorie foods and drink sugary beverages are more likely to become obese because the habits will follow them into adulthood
• Children that excessively play video games or watch television, as opposed to being active, are also more likely to be overweight as adults
Unfortunately, many people may become overweight because the modern environment encourages people to consume more while exercising less. Even how much people sleep and their stress levels, along with other psychological factors, can also affect weight.
Food and Exercise Factors
On average, people consume more calories a day presently than they did 40 years ago. Because of today’s busy schedule, many people do not have time to make healthy meals and instead rely on fast food or vending machine snacks. The fact that many of these foods are offered in a variety of portion sizes do not help when trying to eat healthy.
Along with consuming more, people are also exercising less because of their busy schedules. Because of advances in modern technology, especially in home entertainment, people are also less likely to be active.
Other Factors That Affect Weight
Although genetic and environmental factors are major causes of obesity, still there are people who gain weight through other causes, such as:
• Genetic disorders
• Drug side effects
As you can see, there are many factors that help contribute to why people are overweight in today’s society. If people are able to take control and make healthier choices, then health risks and complications in the future can be reduced.