Obesity is closely linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits are the two major causes of obesity. Here’s how they are related:
- diet: Consuming a diet high in calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, such as fast food, sugary drinks, and processed snacks, can lead to weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help maintain a healthy weight.
- Physical inactivity: Sedentary lifestyles, where people spend most of their time sitting or lying down, can lead to weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, regular physical activity can help burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Sleeping habits: Poor sleep quality and lack of sleep have been linked to an increased risk of obesity. Getting enough quality sleep can help regulate hormones that control hunger and metabolism, reducing the risk of weight gain and obesity.
- Stress: Chronic stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or consuming comfort foods high in sugar and fat, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
- Environmental factors: The built environment, such as urbanization and the availability of unhealthy food options, can also play a role in obesity.
Lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and making healthier choices in the built environment, can help reduce the risk of obesity and its associated health problems.
“Obesity is not a personal choice. It is a complex interplay of genetics, environment, and other factors. The magnitude of this disorder’s impact on health can be understood when we realize that obesity impacts 236 diseases, of which 13 are cancers.” (Obesity Medicine Association) Genetic factors that include thousands of different genes contribute to 40 to 70 percent of obesity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk.” World Obesity Organization puts obesity as one of the most critical public health problems facing the world today. Three factors are externally responsible for obesity and obesity control. These are:
Nutrition: Certain foods, such as refined carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, contribute the most to obesity
Medicine: Certain prescription medicine, including anti-depressants, steroids, contraceptives, medications for diabetes, hypertension, migraines, seizures, bipolar disorder, allergies, insomnia, and a host of others, are associated with weight gain.
Sleep: Disrupted sleep or sleep less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours can lead to obesity. Difficulty in breathing can also be a reason for disturbed sleep.
Given the complexity of this disorder, there are no simple definitions nor simple cures for this condition.
Additional reading on the subject: