Cause and Effect of Obesity

The cause and effect of obesity is as varied as the children and adults dealing with obesity. Several factors, however, are true for most everyone.

Causes of Obesity

When looking at the causes and effects of obesity, it is important to start first with the causes. Though every child and adult carrying excess weight has gained that weight for a variety of reasons, the main factors that generally contribute to an overweight or obese state are:

One Size Fits All Philosophy – Every body is different—type of metabolism, inherent genetic strengths and weakness, nutritional fuel mix requirements, hormonal challenges—and recommending the same dietary and lifestyle change for everyone doesn’t work. When a non-individualized plan is implemented there are rarely positive and long lasting wellness effects; the resultant discouragement and frustration can lead to increased weight and health issues.

Lack of Exercise – Exercise burns calories and builds muscle, both of which are required for maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise of all type—functional and active—needs to be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Stress – When adrenal glands are stressed they produce hormones that contribute to weight gain. As well, low fatty acid intake (i.e. from insufficient intake of fish, seeds and whole grains) and decreased serotonin levels in the brain can cause the emotional stress of depression that in turn can contribute to cravings for sweets and starchy foods. Stress therefore, is a major cause and effect of obesity. If underlying stress factors aren’t dealt with, long-term healthy weight maintenance is unlikely. Emotional and environmental stress also impact liver function. The liver has many functions including processing hormones, eliminating toxins, cleaning the blood, metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates into energy and manufacturing bile to help break down fats. It’s important to keep the liver functioning well so the healthy weight maintenance jobs it does can also be tackled appropriately.

Belief Systems – In weight maintenance, as well as in every other element of body, mind and spirit wellness, attitudes and beliefs greatly influence health. Negative self-image, poor self-esteem, lack of sense of worthiness, minimal expectation of success and poorly designed motivators all impact one’s ability to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Lack of Sleep – Without adequate sleep, the body shows signs of increased stress, a contributing factor to weight gain. In addition, the regulating of hormones that the body produces to both reduce and increase hunger requires adequate amounts of sleep to function properly. As surprising and simple as it might sound, insufficient sleep could be a major cause and effect of obesity in your child.

Insufficient Water– As one of the factors in the cause and effect of obesity, water intake, and the fact it is essential for life, takes on a primary role. Insufficient intake of water drastically impacts the body’s ability to maintain healthy organ function, digestion and weight.

Food Choices – Eating processed foods—those that are generally high on the glycemic index and depleted in nutritional content—are key factors in weight gain. Therefore, can fast food cause obesity? In a nutshell, "Yes". Other factors such as overeating, food sensitivities and excess refined grain consumption, particularly for those body types that require a higher percentage of protein in their diet, also contribute to weight gain.

Effects of Obesity

You are welcome to check out Childhood Obesity 101's more in-depth page of information on the effects of childhood obesity but in short, diseases such as high blood pressure, breathing difficulties (i.e. asthma, sleep apnea), beginning signs of heart disease (i.e. hardening of the arteries) and the all too prevalent today, type 2 diabetes, have now become diseases befalling many of our children.

Even less common obesity diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are being found in children and teens. And it is not just physical conditions that are impacting our youth. Emotional disorders such as depression and poor self-esteem are also being triggered or exacerbated by childhood obesity.

The cause and effect of obesity is multiple layered and can be difficult to sort through. Fortunately, dealing with the results of childhood obesity and discovering natural and healthful treatments for obesity can be simple.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Childhood Obesity 101's other cause and effect pages:

Take a look at Causes of Obesity in Children
as well as at Effects of Childhood Obesity

If you or someone in your family is dealing with childhood obesity, what are you waiting for? Register to the right for our Free Report on "10 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Create a Lean as Can Be Family."

or get additional support by visiting my Kids in Balance site or by purchasing, through the site, my book that fully details how to successfully put the KIB program in place in your own home, Overweight Kids in a Toothpick World.

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