Weight that’s higher than what’s considered a healthy weight for a given height is considered overweight or obese. Obesity is a complex and serious health issue that many people face today. It's risen to high levels in both men and women in the United States and worldwide, resulting in various health complications, and can also contribute to a shorter life. Understanding what obesity is and all the contributing factors are important first steps to treating it.


Levels of Obesity

There are different levels of obesity, which are determined by your Body Mass Index (BMI), or a combined measurement of your height and weight.


What Causes Obesity?

Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.

The causes of obesity usually are a combination of contributing factors, including:



Having a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily consume more calories than you burn, causing your body to store more  body fat than necessary.


Unhealthy Diet and Eating Habits

Having a diet that's high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, eating more of your calories at night, drinking high-calorie beverages and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.



It’s normal for a woman to gain weight during pregnancy. However, this weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity after the birth of the baby.


Lack of Sleep

Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave higher-calorie foods, which can contribute to weight gain.



Some medications have side effects that can lead to weight gain. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.


Medical Problems 

Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Cushing’s Disease, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. 

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