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11 Major Factors That Cause Obesity and Weight Gain

Obesity is a chronic health condition that increases the risk for heart disease, has been on the rise for the last several decades, and currently is at unprecedented margins. It is rather a complicated disease or in simple terms a disorder involving huge deposits of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a superficial concern but also a medical problem that increases the growth rate of other diseases and health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancers.

Obesity is usually a result of consuming too much of calories at a higher rate than at the rate at which the body can burn them through daily normal activities and exercise. If an individual’s body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater, then the so-called person will be identified as obese.

Leading Factors of Obesity

Obesity often results from a combination of causes and leading factors. Right below are a number of the leading factors and causation agents of obesity.

1. Genetics

Since obesity has a strong genetic component, then it can be passed off from a parent to their child. Hereditary factors play a role in how effectively your body burns down calories, how your body regulates your appetite, and how your body transforms food into energy. Such genetic traits may make losing weight a tussle but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible to lose weight if by any chance genetic components make you susceptible to obesity.

2. Being Physically Inactive

Those people having sedentary living behaviors have higher chances of being exposed to obesity than those who quite often engage in physical activities. The reason being is that being physically inactive gives your body a difficult time burning calories as opposed to when you actively engage in outdoor activities such as jogging, hitting the gym, taking a hike, and bicycle riding. A sedentary lifestyle that you should avoid to minimize weight gain includes; looking at your desktop, smartphone, or tablet all day or just lying and sitting on your couch all day long.

3. Unhealthy Diet

Obesity is a process. It’s not something that just happens like a dropped meteor from space, no. It grows over with time as an outcome of an unhealthy diet and other poor related lifestyle choices like;

  • Comfort or stress eating: having stress or feelings of depression might gear you into eating unhealthy eating to make you feel better and at peace. However, this is un-advisable as it might lead you into being a victim of obesity.
  • Taking in too much Alcohol: alcohol contains too many calories and taking it in plenty gets you an inch closer to becoming overweight.

4. Sugar

Scientist argues that excess sugar consumption in the body might be one of the main reason causing obesity. Sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of your body when taken in in excess and this, later on, plays a huge role in becoming overweight.

Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. Glucose can be obtained from a wide range of foods like carbohydrates. However, the majority of fructose is obtained from sugar and excess fructose in the body may cause insulin resistance and a rise in insulin levels. High levels of insulin in the body have a causal role in the development of obesity.

With all these factors in place, sugar without a doubt is a major player in increasing fat deposits in the body and ultimately a leading factor in causing obesity.

5. Medical Issues

Obesity can also be a result of an underlying medical condition. Prader-Willi syndrome and Cushing syndrome are some of the diseases that may lead to becoming overweight. For example, Cushing’s syndrome is a rare disorder that causes the body to produce steroid hormones in large quantities thereby increasing the rate of gaining weight.

In addition to such medical conditions and diseases, medical problems such as arthritis may cause decreased activity of the body making one to be physically inactive and hence exposing them to obesity.

6. Certain Medications

Besides medical issues, some medications or drugs also are a factor cause of obesity. These drugs usually cause weight gain as a side effect of using them. They normally interfere with the normal functioning of the body and brain, reduce the metabolic rate and cause an increase in your appetite.

Examples of such drugs are antidepressants, diabetes medications, steroids, anti-seizure medications, and antipsychotic medications.

7. Age

Obesity has no specific age. It can occur at any age of a person’s lifetime, be it in childhood, as a teen, or as an adult. However, chances of one becoming obese remain high as one age as there are numerous hormonal changes and also one tends to show less interest in being physically active. To add the same, muscles of the body also decrease as one grows old, and generally lower muscle mass leads to a low metabolic rate. All these changes can make it hard for a person’s body to keep off gaining weight and if not controlled can make one on the verge of becoming overweight.

8. Resistance

Leptin is an appetite-reducing hormone that normally doesn’t work in many individuals, especially those who are obese. A high leptin level in healthy people is an advantage to them as it helps them reduce their appetite thereby forming a barrier to the development of obesity. However, in obese people, the leptin hormone seems to fail as it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and communicate to the brain how high are the fat levels in the body.

This condition is usually referred to as Leptin Resistance and it is said to be a major cause in the pathogenesis of obesity.

9. Calories

Calories refer to the energy value of food. Averagely an active physical man needs around 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, and a physically active woman needs about 2,000 calories a day.

This amount may seem high to meet but might be possible in a case where one will opt to eat a large takeaway hamburger, fries, and a milkshake which can total up to 1,500 calories in a single meal. Now imagine taking in two or three such meals a day. Another problem is that many people are physically active, and so lots of the calories they consume during the day end up being stored in their body as fat and this draws the attention of obesity.

10. Misinformation

Across the globe, people are being misinformed about health and nutrition. This has promoted the development of obesity in some individuals as they receive or come across incorrect information about health and nutrition. Relatively to this, companies handling food also play a role in this as they market their products regardless of the consequences and threats that their consumers will face upon consumption.

For example, they will sell products such as weight loss supplements that they know won’t work. With such false and incorrect information, it may lead to weight gain in some people or make weight loss more difficult in others.

11. Other Factors

  • Pregnancy: Weight gain is usually evident during pregnancy and some women find it difficult to lose this after childbirth. Therefore this weight gain may increase the risk of obesity in pregnant women.
  • Lack of sleep: Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause hormonal changes that normally may cause increased appetite. People may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which contribute highly to weight gain and obesity.
  • Stress: External factors that interfere with mood and the well-being of a person may contribute to obesity. People often move more for high-calorie food when experiencing stressful situations.


To wind up on the same doesn’t necessarily mean that being exposed to one or more of these leading factors of obesity that it’s a dead end for you. You can counteract most of these leading factors through a healthy diet, being physically active, and behavior changes.


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