Causes of Obesity and How to Prevent the Condition

causes of obesity

Obesity is one of the most common problems with today’s generation. With the eating of enormous amounts of junk food, today’s youth is gaining weight rapidly. The weight of a person is determined by the calorie he is eating and the amount of calories that he is burning. When a person burns more calories than that he eats he will not face the problems of obesity. However, when the ration between the burnt and the taken calorie does not remain balanced then it works as one of the causes of obesity.

Causes of obesity

The various other causes of obesity are mentioned below:

Physically inactive

Though today’s life is busy, in most cases it does not require one to do much of physical labor. Most of the people are doing desk jobs and that means they are not burning out sufficient calories. This contributes to a person getting obese. In both males and females, the lack of physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of obesity.


Research has also shown that a person is more likely to get obese if one of his parents suffer from obesity. Genetics play a major role in terms of making a person obese. Genetics also has an effect on the hormones that trigger obesity. For example, the lack of leptin is one of the causes of obesity that happens due to genetic issues. Leptin works by signaling the body to cut down eating when there is enough fat stored in the body. In many cases, the leptin is not produced sufficiently and that causes a person to get obese.


Overeating is another leading cause of obesity. Foods that are high in sugar or fat like fried eatables, fast food and sweets contain high energy density. Such foods cause obesity if taken in a high amount and regularly.

Intake of carbohydrates

Though the exact relationship between carbohydrates and obesity is no very clear it works as a contributing factor towards making a person obese. Carbohydrates increase the level of blood sugar in the body and that stimulates insulin. The insulin then helps the fast tissues to grow and that can eventually make a person gain weight.


There is a certain medication that causes obesity. Such medications include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and valproate. There are certain medications for diabetes as well that contribute towards obesity. However, the reason behind various medications making people gain weight varies from one medicine to the other.

Overweight from childhood

If a child is obese during his initial years or during his teenage time then he might be obese as an adult as well. That is why it is important to take care of the weight factor right from childhood. Being obese during your 20s might contribute to you getting obese in your 30s as well. It is therefore important to keep your weight a check right from the initial years.


Certain hormones contribute to obesity. Women stand the chance of gaining weight during their menopause or pregnancy or when they are taking oral birth control pills. Such medicines affect various hormones that lead to one gaining weight.

Quitting smoking

In some people quitting smoking often works as one of the causes of obesity. Some people tend to gain weight after they come out of their long habit of smoking. This mainly happens because people tend to eat more food to cope up with the quitting of smoking. However, you can talk to your doctor about this and can control your weight after you quit smoking.


People having a high-stress factors often tend to end more foods that are high in calories. That is why having stress or anxiety can trigger weight gaining in a person.

Lacking sleep

Sleeping disorder is also one of the causes of obesity. Sleeping too long or not getting enough amount of sleep can affect various hormones that would contribute towards a person getting obese.

Obesity complications

There are various obesity complications that might affect one when he has gained too much weight. These complications include:

Type 2 diabetes

Obesity often changes the way one’s body uses insulin to control the levels of blood sugar. This raises the chance of insulin resistance in your body and thus cause diabetes.

Heart-related problems

Obesity causes one to have high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. These lead to various heart problems and might cause heart attack as well.


Obesity often increases the chance of having cancer in the cervix, uterus, endometrium, breast, ovary, colon, liver, rectum, esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, prostate and kidney. It is not definite that a person having obesity will have cancer but the chances remain nonetheless.

Sexual issues

Obesity contributes towards irregular periods and infertility in women. In men, it can cause erectile dysfunction and thus affect sexual life.


Obesity naturally puts more pressure on the joints of the body and causes inflammation. These lead to complicated problems like osteoarthritis.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is seen more in people who are obese. It is a condition where the breathing stops and starts suddenly when the body is asleep.

Prevention of obesity

If you find that you stand the chance of getting obese or are constantly gaining weight then you should focus on the prevention of obesity. The certain measures that you need to take to prevent obesity are discussed below.

Eat healthily

It is important to follow a healthy diet plan to prevent obesity. You should focus on getting nutrition-dense, low-calorie foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You should avoid items that contain saturated fat and should not take much alcohol or sweets. Also, you should eat three meals a day while having a limited amount of snacks.

However, you do not need to be rigorous all the time and can indulge occasionally in having high-calorie and fat-containing snacks. Make sure to consume them in low amounts. Most of the time you should select foods that will help you to maintain a healthy weight and remain and good health.

Exercise daily

You should make sure that you are exercising daily to keep your weight at control. You should get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or intense exercise as it would help you from gaining more weight. Also, you can walk or swim as moderate physical exercises.

Do not overeat

You should not indulge in overeating and thus should remain away from food items that take you out-of-control eating. Try to maintain a journal where you will write the details of what you eat and when you eat in what amounts. You should also take note of how you feel after having each of the food items and how hungry you are after having them. In this way, you will be able to understand what kind of food trigger binge eating in you. In this way, you will be able to plan your meals n a proper way and will not indulge in binge eating.

Be consistent

If you are following a diet plan to control your weight then you should make sure that you stick to you. It is not healthy to become inconsistent in your diet chart as it would have any lasting effect on your health. You can indulge in occasional treats but make sure they are not frequent. You should consult a dietician in case you cannot prepare a healthy chart on your own.

Take note of your weight

In order to make sure that you are no gaining weight, you should measure your weight regularly. You should do this especially if you have a tendency of gaining weight. Checking your weight at regular intervals would make sure that you can take precautionary measures in case you notice any gain in your weight. You should also check your weight after you have been on a vacation where you ate whatever you wanted or after a weekend where you binge ate.

Prevention of obesity in children

There are many children who tend to obese from early childhood. These children need special attention and for them, you should know about the prevention of obesity in children. The ways of controlling obesity in adults and children are different and the ways of prevention of obesity I children are discussed below.


You should breastfeed your child when he is an infant whenever it is possible. It has been seen in studies that breastfeeding children in infancy often reduces the risk of childhood obesity. However, there have been opposing views as well but breastfeeding has various other benefits as well and thus you should breastfeed whenever you can.

Healthy food

It is important that you build a healthy eating habit right from childhood. You should not offer him fast food and snacks as he will end up growing an unhealthy affinity towards them. You should make him eat vegetables and prepare a balanced diet chart for him. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that he grows a healthy eating habit as otherwise in his grown years he will be facing the problems of obesity due to eating unhealthy food.

Feed him proper amounts of food

Often parents make the mistake of feeding toddlers and children huge amounts of food. However, this habit is not healthy. Toddlers do not need to have huge portions of food. When you become a parent, you should consult your child’s doctor to know how much you should feed your child. You should follow the diet chart prepared by him and make sure never to overfeed him. Continuous overfeeding will lead to the building of a habit of overeating and that would ultimately cause obesity in him from an early age.

Make your family’s eating habit healthy

In order to encourage healthy eating habits in your child and to prevent childhood obesity, you need to follow healthy eating habits as a family. If your child watches you eat healthy food, he will naturally grow an affinity towards eating healthy. However, you can indulge occasionally in having junk food and other items but make sure the amount is low.

Your child will learn from seeing you and thus to ensure that he does not become overweight from an early age make sure to form a mutual habit of eating low-calorie foods only.

Do not buy unhealthy food items

If you notice that your child is gaining weight or stands the chance of gaining weight then you should stop bringing any kind of unhealthy foods in the house. If you have unhealthy eating items in your house then naturally your child will be tempted to eat them and it could cause them to gain more weight. Make sure to keep those high calories and fatty items out of his reach and sight.

Feed him only when he is hungry

While in infancy you should follow the doctor’s timetable of feeding your child. However, from the age, your child learns to ask for food you should only give him food when he is hungry. This would grow a healthy habit in him and he will not indulge in eating when he is full. Overeating is one of the primary causes of obesity and thus eating only when hungry will prevent your child from gaining unwanted weight.

These are the main thing that you need to know about the causes of obesity and its prevention. In today’s life, it is very difficult to stay away from junk and unhealthy food. But for the sake of maintaining your weight, you need to focus on healthy eating. Obesity not only causes physical troubles but also triggers many mental issues like depressions and social anxiety. You might feel very unconfident about your body and that would hamper your social life. Thus, to maintain a healthy life and to avoid any social issues related to your body you need to eat healthily and devote some time to exercising regularly.


  • Shusree Mukherjee

    Writing allows me to pour my heart out in words. So, that's what I've been doing for the past 6 years. I strive to bring in a change in the world by taking tiny steps of curating the right message that needs to be conveyed.

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