What causes obesity?

People develop obesity when their body stores more calories than it uses over time. Your body needs calories (and essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients) to work properly and to be active. But if your body stores more calories than it uses, you will gain weight.

Overview

Obesity is a complex disease

There are many reasons why some people have difficulty avoiding obesity. Usually, obesity results from a combination of inherited factors, combined with the environment and personal diet and exercise choices.

involving an excessive amount of body fat.

Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern.

It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

Reasons

Also, some types of foods are more likely to lead to weight gain, especially those that are high in fats and sugars.

Foods that tend to increase the risk of weight gain include:

fast foods

fried foods, such as french fries

fatty and processed meats

many dairy products

foods with added sugar, such as baked goods, ready-made breakfast cereals, and cookies

foods containing hidden sugars, such as ketchup and many other canned and packaged food items

sweetened juices, sodas, and alcoholic drinks

processed, high-carb foods, such as bread and bagels

Some processed food products contain high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, including savory items, such as ketchup.

Other Factors

Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain. Research continues on the role of other factors in energy balance and weight gain such as chemical exposures and the role of the microbiome.

Family inheritance and influences

The genes you inherit from your parents may affect the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy, how your body regulates your appetite and how your body burns calories during exercise.

Complications

People with obesity are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:

Heart disease and strokes. Obesity makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and strokes.

Certain cancers. Obesity may increase your risk of cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate.

Gynecological and sexual problems. Obesity may cause infertility and irregular periods in women. Obesity also can cause erectile dysfunction in men.

Sleep apnea. People with obesity are more likely to have sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.

Osteoarthritis. Obesity increases the stress placed on weight-bearing joints, in addition to promoting inflammation within the body. These factors may lead to complications such as osteoarthritis.

weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss procedures are additional options for treating obesity.