8 Obesity Factors Out Of Your Control!
Obesity is a serious issue. Most often the blame goes to poor dietary choices and inactivity. However, it isn’t that simple always. There exist other factors too that have a huge impact on body weight and obesity. Some of the factors are outside the control of an individual and they are genetics, medical conditions, and environmental factors.
Find out more about the obesity factors out of your control!
1) Genetics and prenatal factors
Health during early stages of life affects you health later on. A lot can be determined when a baby is still in the womb. The mother’s lifestyle and diet influences the baby’s body composition. Studies reveal that women who put on excessive weight during pregnancy have more chances of having heavy 3 year old kids. Similarly, children whose parents and grandparents are obese are more likely to be obese when compared to kids whose parents and grandparents are of normal- weight.
Apart from the above, the genes inherited from your parents determine your chances of weight gain.
2) Birth and childhood factors
Babies born via C-section have more chances of getting obese later in life and the reason for this is unknown. Formula-fed infants have more body weight than breast-fed babies. It can be due to difference in gut bacteria in the two groups that can affect storage of fat.
What needs to be noted is that these factors are beyond the control of the mother and the baby but they are linked to an increase in the risk of a child’s obesity.
Forming healthy eating habits in a child from an early age can be helpful in prevention of obesity. If young children are inclined towards eating healthy instead of processed junk, their chances of maintaining a normal weight all their life are more.
3) Medical conditions or medicines
Weight gain is the unfortunate side effect of diabetes medicines, antidepressants and antipsychotics. These drugs tend to increase appetite, reduce metabolism and even alter the body’s fat burning ability. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism can also lead to weight gain.
4) Hunger hormones
Uncontrolled eating is not just due to greediness or absence of willpower. Powerful hormones and brain chemicals control hunger. Many obese individuals have improper functioning of these hormones which alters the way they eat and creates a strong inclination towards eating more.
Our brain has a reward centre that light up and begins secreting feel good chemicals when we eat. This is the reason why many people enjoy eating. This also ensures that we eat enough food so that we get all the energy and nutrients we require.
Junk food is known to release more of these feel good chemicals than healthy unprocessed food. It yields a ‘reward’ in the brain and your brain then seeks more reward by inducing cravings for junk foods. This leads to a vicious cycle similar to addiction.
Leptin is an essential hormone that controls appetite and metabolism. It sends signal to the brain telling us to stop eating. Leptin regulates the number of calories we eat and burn as well as how much the body stores.
Obese people tend to have leptin resistance. Even when our bodies produce a lot of leptin, the brain is unable to recognize it. On not receiving the signal from leptin, it thinks that the body is starving even if the body has enough fat stored in it. Hunger is increased and there is a decrease in energy expenditure in order to prevent starvation. And it is impossible to exert willpower against the starvation signal for most people.
6) Improper nutrition education
Despite nutrition being important, kids and adults are not taught how to eat right. Our world is filled with endless ads, nutrition claims and health statements that are misleading. Teaching kids the importance of proper nutrition makes them make better choices in life.
7) Consuming addictive junk food
Certain foods can be addictive. People get addicted to junk food the way they get addicted to drugs! Up to 20% of the people might be suffering from food addiction and this figure can go up to 25% in the overweight and obese individuals.
8) Gut bacteria
Gut bacteria are the friendly bacteria residing in our gut and they are immensely important for health. People with obesity are likely to have different gut bacteria than those who have a normal weight. This makes overweight/obese people to store more fat. Though our understanding is limited when it comes to the weight and gut bacteria link, there is evidence that these microbes have a role to play in obesity.
The bottom line
Obesity is not chosen by anyone. It can happen due to factors that are totally out of our control like genetics, childhood habits, hormones and medical conditions.
Hope this post has been useful!
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