The number of people who are overweight or obese in developed, industrialized countries has been increasing significantly in recent years. In North America, for instance, obesity presents one of the major causes of preventable medical conditions and deaths. Obese people are at a high risk for serious medical issues such as diabetes, various cancers, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke than people who maintain a healthy weight. What are the causes of obesity? Keep on reading to find out!

In general, the cause of obesity is the difference between the calories we consume and those that we burn. Does this mean that obesity occurs only if people overeat and under-exercise? Are self-control and will power enough to prevent us from becoming overweight or obese? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is negative. Even though these factors are significant, obesity is a more complex medical issue involving social, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors too. Medical experts nowadays recognize that all these factors have roles in determining one’s weight.

According to recent research, in certain cases, genetic factors might be responsible for the changes in fat metabolism and appetite leading to obesity. For someone who is genetically prone to gaining weight and adopts an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle the risk of becoming overweight or even obese is extremely high. On the other hand, a person with a better fat metabolism might lead the same lifestyle with less severe consequences.

Nevertheless, genetic makeup is not the only factor that contributes to obesity. Behavioral and environmental factors are even more influential. Being physically inactive and consuming excess calories over the long run will undoubtedly lead to weight gain. Psychological factors shouldn’t be underestimated too; emotional trauma, stress, guilt and low self-esteem might be the causes of overeating. Binge eating disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome and Cushing’s disease can also cause weight gain and obesity.

Obviously, weight gain and obesity are very complex issues and nobody should feel ashamed for not being able to solve them by themselves. Seeking help is the first step to overcoming this problem. For more information on symptoms of obesity as well as the ways to deal with this complex medical condition, check out