CAUSES OF OBESITY

Positive Energy Balance

Whenever intake of calories would be more than the utilization, body will start saving the extra, in form of fat. This is as simple as putting more cash in bank and taking out lesser, which ultimately leads to positive balance in bank, generally called as bank balance. The reason behind this positive energy balance in the body could be more than one.

Intake Control

Appetite is controlled by discrete areas in brain called hypothalamus. The feeding centers (areas in brain) send positive signals to brain cortex that stimulates eating. There is another area of brain called the satiety center that modulates this process by sending inhibitory impulses to the feeding center. Thus destruction of satiety center will lead to overeating and obesity. Obesity may follow due to damage to hypothalamus after head injury because it is unable to regulate appetite or satiety. The satiety center may get activated by plasma glucose and/or insulin that follow a meal. The total adipose tissue mass may also influence the hypothalamic center. Ultimately it is the brain cortex, which controls eating behavior. Psychological, social and genetic factors also influence food intake.

Erratic Eating Behavior

Eating habits of certain people can lead to obesity.

• Frequent consumption of high fatty foods.
• Nibbling between the meals is a potential cause for obesity.
• Eating very fast, consuming more food in lesser time.
• Responding to external factors, like smell or sight of food, rather than internal like hunger and eating favorite foods in large quantity.
• Improper life style, like skipping meals, and eating too much at one time, or taking heavy and late dinner.
• Missing fruits, vegetables and salads and eating more of junk and refined food.

Few high calorie food which are frequently consumed

• Cheese
• Butter
• Cream
• Ice-cream
• Fried foods
• Chips/crisps
• French Fries
• Pastry
• Sausages
• Sausage pastry rolls
• Pies
• Pizza
• Chocolate

Endocrinal Factors

Obesity is very common in case of Hypothyroidisms, Hypogonadism and Cushing’s syndrome. Obesity is also commonly seen at puberty, pregnancy and menopause, which strongly suggest the relation between hormonal abnormalities and obesity.

Psychological factors

Many times, people start eating more food in tension, anxiety, stress, depression, frustration or when they feel alone or deserted, perhaps to ease themselves emotionally or to calm themselves down, whatever is the logic behind this, but this is one of the biggest reasons of increase in obesity in India, especially among kids and young.

Socio-Culture Factors

• Prosperity and civilization: Obesity is common in prosperous countries and people from higher socio economic status of developing countries. They have the purchasing power and availability of surplus food. Civilization has brought plentiful supply of appetizing foods, concentrated foods and variety of foods in the market.

• Parties and Socialization: To maintain their social circle and also because of formality people often tend to eat richer diet.

• Job or profession: it may also affect, like housewives, cooks, chefs etc may eat more while models and air hostess tend to eat less in order to maintain their figure.

Genetics

Obesity has been found to be very closely related to genetics. 80% chances if both the parents are obese. It is a hypothesis that there is an ‘ob’ gene which carries out the traits of obesity, still scientist are doing research in this regard.

Alcohol Consumption

Intake of alcohol can lead to obesity. It has been seen that one peg of alcohol gives about 70-80 calories. Those who take alcohol have a tendency to take it with lot of fried foods especially chips, fried grounds, cashew nuts or almonds. Even if one does not consider the foods which are taken along with the alcohol, alcoholics are consuming everyday some extra calories in the form of alcohol which leads to obesity. Beer, though has low percentage of alcohol, is also fattening and leads to “beer belly”.