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Causes and Cures of Obesity

Causes and Cures of Obesity

Jan 15, 2018
Causes and Cures of Obesity

Obesity is a condition of abnormal accumulation of excessive fat, to the extent that health is impaired. A person is considered obese when his body mass index increases 30kg/m². The amount of excess fat in absolute terms, and its distribution in the body-either around the waist and trunk or peripherally around the body, have important health implications.

Reasons Behind Obesity: 

 Imbalance of Energy: Energy balance refers to a situation where energy intake is equal to Energy given. Energy intake is the calories obtained from food and drinks and energy given is the amount used for digesting and physical activities. The imbalance between these two may lead to obesity. 

Sedentary Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role in Obesity. There has been a large shift towards less physically demanding work, globally, due to advancement in technologies. Prolonged hours have been spent in front of TV’S or Computers, minimising outdoor activities, thereby causing fewer calories to burn which results in obesity. 

Genes and Family History: It has been estimated that 80% of the child of two obese parents are also obese. Different people exposed to the same environment have a different risk of obesity due to underlying Genetics. But if family practices healthy diet and eating habits, the child’s likelihood of being obese are reduced. 

Medical Conditions: There are certain hormonal problems like Hyperthyroidism (underactive thyroid glands), Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) etc. which causes obesity. Hyperthyroidism results in obesity because of the slowing down of metabolism and PCOS is the condition of women in which high levels of androgen (male sex hormone) is produced triggering obesity. 

Pregnancy: Women mostly experiences some weight gain during pregnancy and quite a large number deal with difficulty in losing weight post pregnancy which leads to obesity. There may also be some medical reasons for nor not losing weight. 

Lack of Sleep: Teenagers and Children who lack sleep are twice as likely to develop this disorder than the ones who sleep well. Having enough sleep is crucial in maintaining the balance between the ghrelin hormones (that makes us feel hungry) and leptin hormones (that makes us feel full). Lacking sleep increases ghrelin hormones while decreases leptin hormones, which increases hunger and causes us to eat more than required.






Reasons behind Child Obesity:

It is the condition of excessive fat in child’s body, affecting child’s health. The term overweight rather than obese is used in children, as it is less stigmatizing. Although there are some genetic or hormonal reasons behind childhood obesity, in most cases overweight is due to overeating or less exercising. Some of the reasons are as follows: 

Diet: Unhealthy Lunch option and regular consumption of high-calorie food, like fast food, cookies and other baked goods, soda, candy, chips and vending machine snacks contribute to weight gain. Between 1977 and 2006, children increased their calorie intake from snacks by an average of 168 calories/day, up to a total of 586 calories. The largest increase was found in children aged 2 to 6, who consumed an extra 181 snack calories/day compared to two decades earlier. 

Inactive Lifestyle: Computer, Television and Video Games conspire to keep kids inside and sedentary, which means they burn fewer calories and are more likely to gain weight and as a result obesity. 

Environment: Overweight or Obesity is also a result of the environment. If a child opens up the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets and is greeted by bags of chips, candy bars, and microwave pizza, then that’s likely what they will eat. Similarly, if it's stocked instead with tasty cut-up fruits and veggies (berries, baby carrots, red pepper strips) with low fat, low-fat yogurt etc., then they will go for the healthier fare (rather than eating nothing at all). 

Psychological Factors: Like adults, some kids may turn to eating habits as a coping mechanism for dealing with problems and negative emotions like stress, anxiety or boredom. Children struggling to cope with a divorce or death in the family may tend to eat more. 

Genetic: If a child is born in the family of overweight, he is more likely to gain weight especially if high-quality food is readily available and physical activity is not encouraged. 

Sleep: In a review of studies in the journal, researchers found that kids who sleep less than the recommended amount of about 13 hours a day at age 2 are more likely to be obese at age 7. One reason: Fatigue alters the level of appetite-regulating hormones which can cause children to eat more.


Effects of Obesity on Health:

People who are overweight, are more likely to develop greater risk to various diseases, as for example Cardiovascular Diseases like stroke, Hypertension; Type 2 Diabetes; Cancer (breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver); joint pains; body pains; the mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety etc.




Cure / treatment for obesity: 

Lifestyle and behaviour change: Weight reduction is achieved by consuming fewer calories and increasing activities and exercise. On an average, women should consume between 1200 to 1500 calories a day and men should consume between 1500 to 1800 calories a day.  It depends on age, body weight, and physical activity. 

Regular Exercise: A moderate exercise for 20 to 30 minutes/day with a reduction in day calorie intake and creating a healthy eating plan is a must for obesity treatment. 

Cutting down alcohol intake: Alcoholic drinks contain a high amount of calories and sugar. Reduction in alcohol consumption amount results in losing weight and is thus a good cure for obesity. 

 Avoiding crash dieting: Though it may seem tempting to try quick fix weight loss diets. Drastic weight loss diet programmes can lead to other health issues and very little weight loss. After the completion of crash diet plan, it becomes more likely to regain the lost weight. Hence, it would be advisory to adopt healthy eating habits and maintain it for a long time. 

Surgical Procedures: Some patients with obesity do not respond to healthy lifestyle changes and medicines. When these patients develop certain obesity-related complications, they may be eligible for certain surgeries. 


Measures to be taken to prevent Obesity:


·        Exercise regularly. You need to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain.

·        Following a healthy eating plan.

·        Knowing and avoiding the food traps that cause you to eat.

·        Monitoring your weight regularly.

·        Being consistent.

·        Keeping a daily food diary which can make people more aware of what they eat and identify potentially unhealthy eating habits.

·        Making small changes to eating habits, such as eating more slowly and drinking adequate water.

·        Setting specific but realistic goals such as having salads with dinner and walking for at least 15 minutes in the evening.






Obesity is associated with increased risk of nearly every chronic conditions from diabetes to poor mental health. Almost 2.6 million people die as a result of being obese. Its impact on risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and osteoarthritis are common. It is a well-known fact that weight gain is the result of an imbalance between calories consumed and calories used. And thus eating the right amount and staying the right way (balanced diet) along with doctor’s/dietician’s advice is crucial in all aspect.



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