Obesity is simply excess amount of fat in our bodies. In scientific terms, obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. What causes this imbalance between calories in and calories out may differ from one person to another. Genetic, environmental, psychological, and other factors may all play a part.
Causes of obesity
Genetic factors for obesity
Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic cause. Yet families also share diet and lifestyle habits that may contribute to obesity. Separating these from genetic factors is often difficult. Even so, science shows that heredity is linked to obesity.
In one study, adults who were adopted as children were found to have weights closer to their biological parents than to their adoptive parents. In this case, the person's genetic makeup had more influence on the development of obesity than the environment in the adoptive family home.
Environmental factors for obesity
Genes do not destine people to a lifetime of obesity, however. Environment also strongly influences obesity. This includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. Americans tend to eat high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition. Also, most Americans do not get enough physical activity.
Although you cannot change your genetic makeup, you can change your eating habits and levels of activity. Try these techniques that have helped some people lose weight and keep it off:
• Learn how to choose more nutritious meals that are lower in fat.
• Learn to recognize and control environmental cues (like inviting smells) that make you want to eat when you're not hungry.
• Become more physically active.
• Keep records of your food intake and physical activity.
Psychological factors for obesity
Psychological factors may also influence eating habits. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom,...