There is no quick answer to the question, ‘what are the causes or factors of being overweight or obese?' The overweight or obesity epidemic throughout our country that is covered on TV and in the newspapers clearly has not occurred as a radical change but rather as a slow change. This change is what demands us to have weight awareness. Overweight, obesity and morbid obesity problems are chronic conditions. Overall there are a variety of factors that play a role in being overweight, obese or morbidly obese. This makes it a very complex health issue to address and remedy. In short, there is not easy or one way to correct these problems.
Excesses and imbalances of some food components in the American diet have replaced the once commonplace nutrient deficiencies. Unfortunately, this change has lead to an alarming increase in the number of overweight, obese and morbidly obese persons. Overweight, obese and morbidly obese problems result when a person eats more calories from food (energy) than he or she expends, for example, through physical activity.
This detrimental imbalance between energy intake and output is influenced by metabolic and genetic factors as well as behaviors affecting dietary intake and physical activity.
There are also environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic components which have been shown to play a role in overweight, obese and morbidly obese problems. This is a multifactorial problem on epidemic proportions in the United States.
The most common associations for being overweight are consuming (eating) too much food and not being active enough. This imbalance results in a positive caloric state. Thus, if more calories are eaten than your body burns up, the extra calories are converted to fat and stored in the body as a precious fuel reserve. This positive energy imbalance over a long period of time is what is believed to be one of the major factors contributing to the weight problems of today and tomorrow. Remember, everyone has some stored fat. That is alone is not the problem.
The problem is that too much fat intake or fat conversion results in a person being put in an overweight, obese or morbidly obese weight class or category. In the past, there has been a stereotype that people only became overweight or obese by eating too much and being lazy. Now, doctors are finding out that overweight problems or obesity may run in families and that these overweight and obesity problems may be affected by many factors. It may not be caused just by your eating and exercise habits.
Thus, body weight characteristics are not just a problem of dietary and exercise imbalances. Overweight and obesity may be caused by many factors. An overweight or obese weight designation may be the result of a person's genetics, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status. Behavior and environment play a large role causing people to be overweight and obese. These are the greatest areas for prevention and treatment actions. By actually having weight awareness, people may be able to adjust or modify the aspects of their lives that are actually capable of controlling.
Weight awareness is so important because, as weight increases, so does the prevalence of health risks, illness and death. Lets spend some time focusing on some of the more common factors associated with weight problems, including overweight, obese weight and morbidly obese weight problems.