16 Mar Why does obesity occur?
March 4th marked World Obesity Day, aiming to bring awareness to this chronic disease. Unfortunately, there is a stigma of people with obesity as being lazy.
“Just exercise more and eat less,” are common sentiments from those who do not understand obesity. While diet and physical activity are the keys to successful weight loss, there are several factors that contribute to obesity. These are either outside the sufferer’s control, or occur due to a lack of education. None of them include laziness.
1. Biology: The body has mechanisms that prevent it from going into starvation mode, which came in handy thousands of years ago when humans didn’t know when the next meal was coming. Fast forward to today, and when modern humans try to lose weight, our leptin levels fall. This hormone signals satiety to the brain. As a result, we feel hungrier, don’t feel fullness after a meal, and are more lethargic if we put our bodies in a caloric deficit. Essentially, our bodies are resisting the weight loss efforts.
2. Food: Over the past few decades, the amount of processed foods available has skyrocketed. These foods are calorie dense, have few nutrients, and cause us to just crave more than one portion size of Pringles or M&Ms. These processed foods are heavily promoted and way more readily available than healthier, natural foods. As a result, when someone is hungry and at a gas station, they are much more likely to go for the king size candy bar than to locate an apple buried behind the cash register.
3. Genetics: Our genetic make-up does determine whether we are more at risk to be obese. It is estimated that 40-70% of people with obesity have a genetic predisposition for the disease.
4. Healthcare Access: The majority of clinicians still view obesity as a lifestyle choice and not a disease. Obesity is a complex disease that many healthcare professionals still do not understand fully. Those struggling with obesity may not have access to the medical care they need to treat the disease, such as having insurance coverage for weight loss surgery or being in close proximity to a surgeon specializing in obesity.
5. Life Events: Certain medications such as anti-depressants or steroids can cause weight gain. People who lead sedentary lifestyles due to their jobs, or have poor sleep schedules are more susceptible to being overweight as well.
6. Marketing: Strategies are used to appeal to specific demographics with messaging that is appealing for the consumer. For example, breakfast cereals that are high in sugar use cartoon characters in tv commercials to appeal to kids, which then contributes to childhood obesity.
7. Sleep: When we do not get enough sleep, three things happen:
- Our bodies release cortisol, a stress hormone that causes weight gain
- Increased ghrelin levels, a hormone which signals hunger to our brain
- Decreased leptin levels, the hormone which signals satiety to our brain
The combination of these three hormone level fluctuations cause weight gain. If you or a loved one are struggling to lose weight successfully, Lifetime Surgical has a solution that was made for you. Call our office for your initial consultation: 408-358-1855