Causes of obesity

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Two of the major risk factors for becoming obese according to the Mayo Clinic are poor dietary choices and inactivity.[1] (photo obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

Two of the major risk factors for becoming obese according to the Mayo Clinic are poor dietary choices and inactivity.[2] Most individuals are overweight due to their dietary and exercise habits.[3]

Psychological factors

Obesity is positively associated with impulsiveness, lower self-discipline and neuroticism.[4] In addition, many people overeat in response to negative emotions such as depression, anger, anxiety and boredom.[5]

Genetics generally plays a small role

Although many people attempt to excuse away their overweight condition on their genetic makeup rather than exercise self-discipline when it comes to their diet and exercise habits, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health, most people can maintain a healthy weight through the establishment of healthy habits and maintaining an environment conducive to good health (emptying their refrigerator and cupboards of junk foods, etc.).[6]

The Harvard University School of Public Health declares in their article Genes are not destiny:

...it’s important to remember that overall, the contribution of genes to obesity risk is small, while the contribution of our toxic food and activity environment is huge. As one scientist wrote, “Genes may co-determine who becomes obese, but our environment determines how many become obese.” That’s why obesity prevention efforts must focus on changing our environment to make healthy choices easier choices, for all.[7]

Medical causes of obesity

Although obesity is usually the result of overeating and lack of exercise, in a small percentage of cases excess weight gain is a symptom of a disease such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's syndrome.[8]

Internet and computer usage

In 2009, an Australian university study was done concerning the association between leisure time internet and computer use with being overweight and/or obese and also sedentary.[9] The study concluded: "These findings suggest that, apart from nutritional and physical activity interventions, it may also be necessary to decrease time spent in sedentary behaviors, such as leisure-time Internet and computer use, in order to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity."[10]

Socioeconomic factors

Below are some articles/resources on socioeconomic factors and obesity:

Cultural factors

Below are some articles related to obesity and culture:

Geography and obesity

Due to socioeconomic/cultural factors, some regions have higher obesity rates than others. Below are some articles relating to this matter:

Religious background

See also: Atheism and obesity and Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

In the journal article Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations, explanations, and implications, psychologists McCullough and Willoughby theorize that many of the positive links of religiousness with health and social behavior may be caused by religion's beneficial influences on self-control/self-regulation.[11][12] Furthermore, a 2012 Queen's University study published in Psychological Science found that religion replenishes self-control.[13][14] Also, numerous studies indicate that those who engage in regular spiritual practices have lower mortality rates.[15][16]

According to the Gallup Inc., "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious."[17]

For more information please see: Atheism and obesity and Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

Factors leading to a more sedentary lifestyle

Excessive internet usage

In 2009, an Australian university study was done concerning the association between leisure time internet and computer use with being overweight and/or obese and also sedentary.[18] The study concluded: "These findings suggest that, apart from nutritional and physical activity interventions, it may also be necessary to decrease time spent in sedentary behaviors, such as leisure-time Internet and computer use, in order to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity."[19]

See also

References

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=causes
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=causes
  3. [1]
  4. Obesity - Genes are not destiny
  5. Obesity - Genes are not destiny
  6. Medical causes of obesity, WebMD
  7. http://www.jmir.org/2009/3/e28/
  8. http://www.jmir.org/2009/3/e28/
  9. Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19210054
  11. Religion Replenishes Self-Control, Psychological Science, June 2012 vol. 23 no. 6 635-642, Kevin Rounding, Albert Lee, Jill A. Jacobson and Li-Jun Ji at Queen’s University
  12. Study finds religion helps us gain self-control
  13. Religious involvement and mortality: a meta-analytic review. McCullough ME, Hoyt WT, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Thoresen C., Health Psychol. 2000 May;19(3):211-22.
  14. The role of spirituality in health care, roc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2001 October; 14(4): 352–357.
  15. http://www.gallup.com/poll/145379/Religious-Americans-Lead-Healthier-Lives.aspx
  16. http://www.jmir.org/2009/3/e28/
  17. http://www.jmir.org/2009/3/e28/