Causes of Obesity

Reading time: 2 min

The causes of obesity are multiple and complex. In general, it is accepted that the cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between the calories that are consumed and the calories that are used through exercise and activities of daily living, with the body storing the excess of calories as fat.

Risk factors of Obesity

Obesity is not simply the result of eating too much. Epidemiological studies have detected a series of factors associated with obesity in the population.

age grow up

Age. As one ages, the hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle contribute to the appearance of obesity.


Female gender. Mainly associated with childbirth and the menopause. Obesity also occurs in women that have polycystic ovary syndrome, which is an endocrine condition that prevents correct ovulation.


Race. There is a high level of incidence obesity in people of African descent and those of Hispanic origin.

Alimentación inadecuada, exceso de grasa, embutido, pastel

Unhealthy food. In the last 50 years, there is a universal trend to eat foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Too many calories are consumed, with abuse of fast food, as well as drinks with a high calorie content.

sedentary lifestyle

Sedentarism. Sedentary lifestyle due to the automation of work activities, modern means of transport, and a more urban life, which have an influence on the reduction of physical exercise.


Socio-cultural. Obesity is associated with a lower level of studies and lower level of income to buy healthy foods.


Habits. A consumption of incorrect foods, smoking and alcohol consumption.

family, hereditary factors

Genetic factors. Some genetic studies have determined that obesity can be hereditary, with genes that influence the amount of body fat and its distribution.


Certain medications. Some drugs can cause a gain in weight if they are not combined with diet or exercise. Among these drugs are some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, steroids, antipsychotics, drugs for diabetes, and beta-blockers.

Substantiated information by:

Alba Andreu Martí
Lilliam Flores Meneses
Silvia Cañizares

Published: 17 August 2018
Updated: 17 August 2018


Receive the latest updates related to this content.

Thank you for subscribing!

We have received your information. Check your inbox, in a few moments you will receive a confirmation email.

An error occurred and we were unable to send your data, please try again later.