Diet and Nutrition

Risk Factors for Obesity

Risk Factors for Obesity

The following triggers and risk factors contribute toward obesity.

Genes: Genes possibly affect the amount of fat stored by the body. Genetics influences the efficiency of food being converted into energy, the distribution of fats, and the burning of calories by the body during physical exercise. 

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Lifestyles of families: Obesity usually affects members of certain families. The chances of becoming obese are high if your parents suffer from the condition. However, genetics may not be the only factor for vulnerability. The common eating behaviors shared by the family members have an effect, too. 

Being inactive: Your body will be unable to burn many calories if you appear to be sedentary. An inactive lifestyle makes your body accumulate more calories than the amount of energy expended through exercises and activities. Reduced activity can be caused by medical conditions, such as arthritis, which lead to increased weight gain. 

Poor diet: Consuming an extremely high-calorie diet composed of fast food that doesn’t include fruits and veggies entirely, as well as beverages with high levels of calories, leads to gaining more body weight.

Medical issues: Sometimes medical conditions like Prader-Willi syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome are associated with obesity. Arthritis is another illness which makes one less active, possibly leading to weight gain.   

Particular medications: Certain medications can make patients gain more weight if they don’t eat healthy diets or if they remain inactive. Some of these medications consist of certain antidepressant drugs, anti-seizure medicines, diabetes drugs, antipsychotic drugs, steroid drugs, and beta blockers.

Social and economic factors:  Unavailability of secure areas to perform exercises increases the chances of becoming obese. The vulnerability is also increased by the lack of information regarding healthy cooking methods and also due to the lack of money to purchase healthy foods. It is quite interesting to note that the people you hang out with may have a great impact on your weight. If your friends or relatives are obese, the chances of you becoming obese is also high.

A person’s age: Although obesity can strike a person at any age, changes in hormones and the dormant lifestyle that one experiences while growing old may increase their chances of being obese. Also, the gradual loss of muscles due to old age will result in a reduced metabolism. These kinds of body changes lower the body calorie requirements, making it difficult to avoid weight gain. Therefore, it is vital to regulate your diet consciously and engage in physical exercises as you grow old to avoid obesity. 

Expectancy: A woman usually experiences weight gain when pregnant. It becomes hard for some women to shed off the increased weight after the baby is delivered. This increases the chances of them becoming obese.

Stopping cigarette smoking: Generally, most people who quit smoking would experience an increased weight gain. To some people, the increased weight can be so high that it leads to obesity. Nevertheless, abstinence from smoking is more beneficial to your body than continuing with this behavior.

Extreme sleeping habits: You can have an increased appetite as a result of sleeping too much or too little. You may feel a strong urge to eat high-calorie foods and carbohydrates, which would make you obese. 


Health Problems Associated with Overweight and Obesity in Adults

Coronary Heart illness

Your susceptibility to coronary heart disease increases with the increase of your Body Mass Index (BMI). Coronary heart disease (CHD) is an illness which leads to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to your heart.

Plaque can minimize the flow of blood to the muscles of your heart by narrowing or blocking the coronary arteries. This can lead to chest pain (discomfort) or heart attack. 

Obesity can also cause heart failure, a serious condition which makes your heart unable to pump sufficient blood for your body’s requirements. 


Blood pressure is defined as the force at which blood pushes against the arteries’ walls while the heart pumps the blood. Various body damages can occur as a result of persistently increased blood pressure.

Being overweight or obese increases the chances of having high blood pressure.


Obesity and being overweight can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. This can later lead to the rupture of the affected area, resulting in the formation of blood clots. The blood and oxygen flow to the brain can be obstructed if the clots develop close to the brain, causing a stroke. The risk of developing stroke increases with the increase in Body Mass Index.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of risk factors that increase the chances of having heart diseases and other health conditions, like diabetes and stroke. Although these contributors usually occur simultaneously, you could experience any one of the above mentioned risk factors. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed if you have three or more of these risk factors: 

A big waistline

This is also referred to as abdominal obesity or an “apple shape" body type. The condition is marked by the presence of excess fat around the waist and makes one vulnerable to coronary heart disease. This may lead to:

  • Abnormally high level of triglycerides 
  • Abnormally low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level
  • Unusually high blood pressure or the need for hypertension medication
  • Fasting blood sugar is higher than normal or the intake of diabetes medications


Your chances of having cancer of the colon, breast, uterus, or gallbladder increase when you are overweight or obese.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition marked by an increased level of blood glucose (sugar). The body usually processes and converts food into glucose and then distributes it to the entire body. Insulin helps the cells in converting glucose back to energy.

When one has diabetes type 2, the cells don’t utilize insulin appropriately. Initially, the body responds by increasing the production of insulin. Eventually, the body becomes unable to produce sufficient insulin to regulate the level of blood sugar.

Diabetes is a major trigger of early fatalities, coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney illness, and becoming sightless. The majority of people suffering from type 2 diabetes have abnormally high body weight.


Gallstones develop in the gallbladder, and they are hard lumps of a material that resembles a golf ball. Cholesterol is the main constituent of gallstones. Gallstones can lead to pain in the stomach or back.

Obese or overweight individuals are susceptible to gallstones. An overweight person may also have an extended poorly functioning gallbladder.

Causes of obesity in children

Lifestyle problems may cause obesity in children. Extremely minimal activity and excess calories supplied by food and drinks are the major factors that lead to obesity in children. However, genes and hormones may also lead to the development of this condition. For instance, a recent study has discovered that variations in hormones responsible for digestion influence the signals that alert when feeling full.

Inactivity can also occur as a result of traveling by vehicle rather than walking, advanced technology, and modern conveniences, which don't require physical activity at workplaces and homes.

Inactive individuals are vulnerable to weight gain, since their bodies don’t burn the calories supplied by foods and drinks that they consume. A sedentary lifestyle also increases the chances of having CHD, diabetes, and colon cancer among other health issues.

Hereditary diseases and hormonal conditions increase a child’s chances of becoming obese. However, these diseases and disorders are uncommon. 


When to seek doctor’s attention

Visit your physician or health care expert if you suspect that you have obesity, especially if you have health issues that are related to weight. You may have the chance to analyze the probable health related risks with your doctor and talk about the available alternatives to help reduce your weight.

Key Takeaways

  • Your chances of having cancer of the colon, breast, uterus, or gallbladder increase when you are overweight or obese. 
  • Obese or overweight individuals are susceptible to gallstones.
  • Inactive individuals are vulnerable to weight gain, since their bodies don’t burn the calories supplied by foods and drinks that they consume.