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Causes of Obesity


Obesity is a disorder in which a person becomes overweight because of too much body fat. It is important to note that sometimes, the words overweight and obese interchangeably. This should not be the case because a body mass index (BMI) test can classify you as overweight for having too much muscle weight that is uncharacteristic of your height. The best way to measure excess fat is using waist circumference in addition to a classification of being overweight (with a BMI of 25 – 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9).

Being obese comes with an array of health risks related to your weight. These risks include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some types of cancer such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

Causes of Obesity

There are a number of reasons why you can become obese. These include;

Eating habits

The energy value in food is measured in calories. There is the ideal number of calories that the body can sustain. Going over this number increases your chances of gaining excess weight thus becoming obese. Your fate is sealed especially if you cannot burn off the excess calories through physical activity. They end up being stored in the body as fat.

Obesity as a result of eating habits doesn’t happen overnight, it is a gradual process full of poor diet choices such as:

  • Eating large amounts of processed foods that are high in fat and sugar content.
  • Drinking too much sugary drinks.
  • Eating larger portions than you need.
  • Comfort eating – this leads to unintentionally eating way more than is necessary.

Lack of physical activity

In today’s societies, a lot of activities require a person to remain seated with minimal physical movement. For example, children spend a lot of time online on social media and playing video games which does not warrant a lot of physical activity. This coupled with poor eating habits increases the risk of becoming obese. A large percentage of adults do not exercise and some spend too much time seated at work. This means that they are scarcely able to burn out any extra calories in their bodies.


Though a few, there are genetic problems that can lead to obesity risks e.g. Prader-Willi Syndrome, a symptom of which is a constant desire for food driven by a constant feeling of hunger which can result in weight gain.

Medical Reasons

Sometimes, underlying medical conditions may cause severe weight gain.

Examples include:

  • Hypothyroidism – this is where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones.
  • Cushing’s syndrome – this is a rare condition in which the body over-produces steroid hormones.

All these conditions can be averted especially if noticed early. This can be through medication, exercise and adopting a healthy lifestyle.