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The causes of obesity are multiple and complex due to the combination of causes and contributing factors. It is generally accepted that the cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended 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. 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.
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.
Sedentarism. There is a decrease in physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle, the automation of work activities, modern means of transportation and increased urban life.
Socio-cultural. Obesity is associated with lower educational attainment and lower income levels linked to limited access to recreational facilities and lack of money to buy healthy foods.
Habits. A consumption of incorrect foods, smoking and alcohol consumption.
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.
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Substantiated information by:
Alba Andreu MartíNutritionistEndocrinology and Dietetics Department
Lilliam Flores MenesesEndocrinologistEndocrinology Department
Silvia Cañizares AlejosPsychologistPsychiatry and Psychology Department
Published: 17 August 2018
Updated: 20 January 2022
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