Part 14 – Causes of obesity and psychological aspects of obesity

Does heredity play a role in obesity?
Yes, heredity does play a role in obesity. It has been seen that if parents are obese the children tend to be obese. One of the major reasons for this is probably the food and eating habits, whatever Parents are eating the same are learned by the children. When they grow up they follow a similar eating pattern.

Can intake of alcohol lead to obesity?

Yes, the 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 eat it with a lot of fried foods especially chips, fried groundnuts, cashew nuts or almonds. Even if one does not consider the food which is taken along with the alcohol, alcoholics are consuming every day some extra calories in the form of alcohol which leads to obesity. Beer, though has a low percentage of alcohol, is also fattening and leads to “beer belly”.

Psychological aspects of obesity-

What are the psychological and social effects of obesity?
One of the most painful aspects of obesity may be the emotional suffering it causes. Our society places great emphasis on physical appearance, often adding attractiveness with slimness, especially in women. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive. Many people assume that obese people are lazy. Obese people often face prejudice or discrimination at work, at school whole looking for a job, and in social situations. Feelings of rejection, shame or depression are common. They generally have low self- esteem and face eating disorders.

What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is an illness that usually occurs in teenage girls, but it can also occur in teenage boys, and adult women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining weight. They believe they are fat even though they are very thin. Anorexia is not just a problem with food or weight. It is an attempt to use food and weight to deal with emotional problems.

What are the problems caused by anorexia?
People with anorexia have dry skin and thinning hair on the head. They may have a growth of fine hair all over their body. They may feel cold all the time, and they may get sick often. People with anorexia are often in a bad mood. They have a hard time concentrating and are always thinking about food. It is not true that anorexics are never hungry. Actually, they are always hungry. It makes them feel like they are good at something- they are good at losing weight. People with severe anorexia may be at risk of death from starvation.

What is bulimia?

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a psychological eating disorder. Bulimia is characterized by repeated bouts of overeating followed by inappropriate methods of weight control(purging). Inappropriate methods of weight control include vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising. Excessive weight and shape concern are also characteristics of bulimia. Sufferers consume huge quantities of food sometimes up to 20,000 calories at a time. The foods, which they eat, are generally sweet foods, high in calories or smooth, soft foods like ice cream, cake, and pastry. It is not a response to depression, stress or self-esteem issues. The cycle of overeating and purging usually becomes an obsession and is repeated often.