What Are the Causes of Obesity?
Obesity is one of the most significant health issues of our time. It continues to become more prevalent day by day, posing a threat to human health. So, what are the causes of obesity, and can these causes be prevented?
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is the excessive accumulation of fat mass within the body compared to lean mass. This increase accelerates at a certain point and becomes uncontrollable. Despite methods such as diet and exercise, individuals with obesity cannot shed their excess weight.
Obesity is not just about being overweight. Excess weight, first and foremost, reduces mobility and decreases the quality of life. Additionally, it increases the risk of various diseases, with hypertension and type 2 diabetes being among the primary ones.
The diagnosis of obesity is based on the body mass index (BMI). Body mass index, or BMI, is calculated by dividing body weight (kg) by height squared (m2). According to the body mass index, individuals’ obesity status is as follows:
- BMI less than 18.4: Underweight
- BMI between 18.5 and 24.9: Normal
- BMI between 25 and 29.9: Overweight
- BMI between 30 and 34.9: Obese 1 (Obesity)
- BMI between 35 and 39.9: Obese 2 (Morbid obesity)
- BMI 40 and above: Obese 3 (Super morbid)
Individuals with a body mass index of 30 or higher are considered obese.
Causes of Obesity
The causes of obesity can vary from person to person. The reasons for this condition are not the same for everyone. Some of the common causes of obesity and details related to them are as follows:
- Poor Diet
Modern lifestyle changes have led to significant alterations in dietary habits. The proliferation of fast-food chains, in particular, has contributed to the consumption of high-calorie foods and beverages. All of this has resulted in unhealthy and irregular eating habits.
- Genetic Factors
Genetic factors are a significant cause of obesity. Individuals with a family history of obesity are considered to be at a higher risk, and they need to be more cautious about the disease. However, it should be noted that genetic factors are related to susceptibility and, if healthy eating habits are adopted, they alone may not lead to obesity.
- Decreased Physical Activity
Modern lifestyle changes have not only affected dietary habits but also led to reduced physical activity. People use their own vehicles or public transportation even for short distances. Additionally, many desk jobs in today’s world lead to decreased physical activity.
- Emotional Factors and Stress Disorders
Emotional factors and stress disorders influence eating habits and physical activity. Some individuals tend to eat more when under intense stress. Moreover, they adopt a more sedentary lifestyle during such times.
Low physical activity and increased food consumption are among the most significant causes of obesity. Therefore, it is clear that stress and emotional factors indirectly contribute to obesity.
- Metabolic Factors
Metabolic factors are crucial in terms of how quickly and how much consumed food is burned in the body. A slow metabolism rate makes individuals more prone to weight gain. Therefore, when investigating the causes of obesity, metabolic factors must also be assessed.
- Sleep Problems
Regular sleep is essential for a healthy life. Irregular sleep and sleep problems disrupt the proper functioning of hunger and fullness hormones. This can lead to a desire to eat without actually being hungry.
- Environmental Factors
The widespread prevalence of obesity today can also be attributed to environmental factors. Factors such as portion sizes, accessibility of certain foods, advertising, and societal eating habits all play a role in obesity. Therefore, in the fight against obesity, it is essential to distance oneself from such environmental factors and avoid exposure to them.
- Hormonal Changes
Hormones influence everything from eating habits to metabolism rates. Abnormal changes in hormone levels, especially when the thyroid gland is not functioning correctly, significantly increase the risk of obesity. Therefore, when investigating the causes of obesity, hormone tests must also be conducted.
Causes of Obesity How Is Obesity Treated?
To treat obesity, it is essential to first identify the underlying cause of the condition. Once the cause is identified, efforts are made to eliminate or reduce its impact. After this stage, the primary goal is to shed excess weight.
Diet and exercise programs are implemented to lose excess weight. If desired results are not achieved with these programs, and if there is a risk of developing various diseases, obesity surgery options are considered. Surgical methods can offer a permanent solution to this condition.