Reasons Why Obesity is Not Simply a Result of Choice

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In 2012, up to 35% of US adults and 17% of teens were obese.  In the Philippines, a 2011 survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that 22.3 percent of Filipino adults are overweight and 6.1 percent are obese. the Philippines and India are among the developing countries with high levels of obesity and undernutrition.

Many people blame obesity on poor dietary choices and inactivity, but it’s not always that simple.

Other factors can have powerful effects on body weight and obesity, some of which are outside of the person’s control.

These include genetics, environmental factors, certain medical conditions and more.

This article lists 9 compelling reasons why obesity is not just a choice.

1. Genetics and Prenatal Factors

Studies show that a lot can be determined while the fetus is still in the womb. For example, the mother’s diet and lifestyle choices matter a great deal, and may influence the baby’s future behaviors and body composition.

Studies show that women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy are more likely to have heavy 3-year-olds. Moreover, children who have obese parents and grandparents are much more likely to be obese than kids with normal-weight parents and grandparents. Another reason for this seemingly continuity of obesity along filial generations is the genes that we inherit our parents which may determine our susceptibility to weight gain.

2. Birth, Infancy, and Childhood Habits

Studies show, although without clear reason, that children born via C-section seem more prone to obesity later in life.

Studies also show that formula-fed infants tend to be heavier and more likely to get obese, than breast-fed infants.

These factors, note, are genetic, and therefore not made by choice of either the mother or the offspring, yet they seem to be linked to the offspring’s obesity risk.

3. Medications or Medical Conditions

Newsflash: Weight gain is a common side effect of many such medications. These include diabetes medications, antidepressants and antipsychotics. These drugs may increase appetite, reduce metabolism, or alter the way the body burns fat (stores them instead of burning them).

Conversely, many common medical conditions can predispose to weight gain. A key example is hypothyroidism.

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