The Top 10 Causes Of Obesity: A Physicians Guide - Infiuss Health

The Top 10 Causes Of Obesity: A Physicians Guide

You may have heard the phrase "it's all about willpower" when it comes to losing weight, but as a physician, I see the reality every day that obesity is much more complex than that.  Read on to learn more.

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Dr. Peace Chikezie

03 Apr 2024

Obesity affects millions worldwide and can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and more. If you're struggling with obesity, it's best to understand the possible cause of your obesity as the first step towards a healthier life. 

Let's learn the top 10 causes of obesity.

The 10 Most Common Causes of Obesity

You may have heard the phrase "it's all about willpower" when it comes to losing weight, but as a physician, I see the reality every day that obesity is much more complex than that. 

It's not just about the choices you make at the dinner table or the gym; numerous factors play a role, from genetics to your environment. 

1. Poor Diet As the Commonest Cause of Obesity

One of the biggest factors in weight gain is eating too many high-calorie foods that don't offer much nutrition—think fast food, sugary sodas, and those tempting bags of chips. These foods are everywhere, making it easy to grab a quick bite or a drink, but they pack a lot of calories without filling you up or giving you the good stuff your body needs to stay healthy.

Try to fill your plate with more fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains.

2. Lack of Physical Activity As A Cause of Obesity

If you find yourself sitting a lot—maybe at a desk job, on the couch watching TV, or even in a car for long commutes—it can be a major cause of obesity. Our bodies are made to move, and when we don't, it's easier to gain weight.

Think about your daily routine and where you can fit in these little bursts of activity.

3.  Genetics /Family History of Obesity

When we talk about weight, it's important to remember that genetics can play a role. You might have heard people say, "It runs in my family." And there's some truth to that. Genetic factors can influence your body type, how your body stores fat, and even how you metabolize food.

But here's the key point: making healthy choices can make a big difference, regardless of your genetic background.

4. Your Environment and Social factors Contribute to Obesity

Your environment and the people around you can shape your eating and exercise habits. If you're in a place with lots of parks, gyms, and places that offer healthy food, it's going to be easier to make choices that support your health. On the other hand, if those things are hard to come by, it can be a challenge.

If you're surrounded by people who value healthy eating and staying active, it's contagious—you're more likely to join in. But if outings and gatherings often revolve around eating out or sitting around, it's easy for those habits to become your habits, too.

5. Emotional Eating and Stress Can Cause Obesity

Ever heard of stress eating? It's not as uncommon as you may think to turn to food for comfort when feeling stressed or emotional. It can be a significant factor in Obesity. When we eat because we're stressed, sad, or even bored, we're not usually reaching for carrots and other healthier options; it's often the high-calorie, sweet, and less nutritious foods that become the go-to.

Consider talking to a professional to find healthy ways to deal with stress and emotions.

6. The Link Between Sleep and Obesity

Not getting enough sleep can do more than just make you feel tired; it can lead to obesity. When you don't get sleep enough, your body's hormones can get out of control—specifically, those that control hunger and fullness. You might find yourself feeling hungrier and reaching for snacks more often, especially for sugary or starchy foods for a quick energy boost.

Improving your sleep can be a game-changer for managing your weight.

7. Medical Conditions That Can Cause Obesity

Some medical conditions can play a significant role in weight gain. Conditions like hypothyroidism, where your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, can slow down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, can also lead to weight gain and make it challenging to lose weight.

Other conditions that might contribute to weight gain include Cushing's syndrome, depression, and some sleep disorders. 

If you're struggling with weight and haven't had success with changes to your diet or physical activity level, it might be time to talk to a healthcare provider. They can help determine if there's an underlying medical condition affecting your weight and offer personalized advice on managing it.

8. Medications That Can Cause Obesity

It's important to be aware that some medications can have side effects that contribute to weight gain. These can include certain types of antidepressants, contraceptives, antipsychotics, and even medications for diabetes, lupus, and high blood pressure. It's not the same for everyone, but for some, these medications can make it more challenging to manage weight.

If you're noticing weight changes after starting a new medication, it's a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about it. It's advisable not to stop or change your medication on your own, as this can have serious health implications.

9. Age and its Role in Obesity

As we get older, our metabolism—the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy—naturally slows down. This means that even if you're eating and exercising the same amount as you did when you were younger, you might still see weight gain. It's a normal part of aging, but it can be surprising and frustrating.

Adjusting your health habits as you age can help you maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.

10. Misinformation about Healthier Choices Can Cause Obesity

Misinformation about the right diet and exercise can lead to confusion and make it hard to know the best steps to take for your health. It's easy to get caught up in promises of quick fixes or dramatic results.

To avoid this trap, do your research. Making informed lifestyle choices starts with getting information from credible sources. This could be healthcare professionals, reputable health organizations, or scientific research. It's important to question and verify the health advice you come across, especially if it sounds too good to be true.


We've discussed many causes of obesity. I hope it's quite clear to you that managing weight is about much more than just willpower; it's influenced by a variety of factors, many of which are related to each other. Try to figure out where you fit in. That is the first step towards a healthier you.

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