Obesity: Causes, Complications, Factors and Preventions

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Obesity is becoming more common everyday and is a serious global epidemic affecting many countries in the world. As of 2017, the US is the most obese country in the world, with more than 100 million people to be classified as overweight. The condition can result from different varieties of causes, some which people claim to be from genetics but is mainly related to poor lifestyle choices. Obesity is a medical condition described as excess body weight in the form of fat. A more technical definition of obesity is having a BMI or body mass index of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated by weight relative to height. The best way to prevent or stop obesity is to maintain a healthy balanced diet and being more physically active or exercising to avoid any physically or mentally life threatening consequences.

Cause of Obesity

The main cause of obesity is overeating and no form of physical activity. Overeating obviously leads to weight gain for those whose diet consist of foods high in fats or sugar. People who are physically inactive leave the weight stored on their bodies as it keeps growing. Although, there are few other ways that can contribute to becoming obese. The major problem is “overweight and obesity affects about two out of every three Americans-and, what is even more alarming, 15 percent of our children and adolescents” (Crawford 23). Many people eat out, such as fast food which contains high fats possibly with no vegetables involved. Also eating in large proportions than one actually needs. Comfort eating when feeling depressed or low self esteem thinking it would make you feel better. Also some may eat when they're bored and just need something to snack on but could get carried away because if its bite sized snacks, you can eat a lot of them. It is easy to get lost in the comfort of your own home rather than physically active. From watching TV, playing video games, or just sleep. In time, this would become an everyday habit.

Complications of Obesity

Consequently, having an imbalanced diet and not being physically active or exercising can take a toll on the human body. It is considered to increase the risk of severe health impairments such as illness, disability, and may even cause death. Obesity is associated with many different disorders and diseases. The major symptom of obesity is the excessive weight gain and a large amount of fatty adipose tissue. Obesity increases several secondary conditions such as arthritis, heart problems, asthma, high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, skin disorders, or simply emotional and social problems. Being obese can have immese pressure force on the body. Arthritis is pain or stiffness in the joints of the body when it is inflamed also cause back pains which only worsen with age and obesity. Heart problems lead to higher risk of heart attacks and strokes because blood carries oxygen and nutrients that helps the body tissue to function properly also causes from high cholesterol or blood pressure. Heartburns are imminent and happens constantly mostly after each meal. Obesity interferes with that process because shortness of breath that can be incapacitating which then leads to asthma. Diabetes defines as blood glucose or blood sugar are at a higher level than they should be. The most common is type 2 diabetes which your body does not produce or correctly utilize insulin the way it should. Insulin is what helps glucose get into the cells to give energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in the blood. Diabetes itself can have it own symptoms such as blurry eyesight, always feeling hungry or tired, and also damage nerves and the heart. Skin disorders arise from the bacterial breakdown of sweat and dirt in the thick folds of skin or from friction between the folds. Though obesity is said to shorten life expectancy, it is worse for those who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol because more health problems arise when the two are intertwined. Obesity is a caustic factor in as many as 400,000 deaths each year, which is considered to be the second most devastating avoidable cause of premature death in the U.S. after tobacco. These are only a few of the main symptoms of obesity, yet there are many other side effects. Being fat can also make someone have emotional and social problems because of how they look. Obesity in general brings about negative benefits to the body and mind.

Psychological Factor

Although, obesity is a physical problem, it is also a psychological one and can affect one's mindset and emotions. It can lead to depression, low self esteem, and other psychological problems. Many people who are fat are ashamed of how they look, therefore isolating themselves from others causing them to have social problems. People often eat when they feel bored, sad, or angry. Others may view those with obesity to be lazy or unintelligent. Those with obesity experience the inconvenience and frustration of needing larger sized clothing, larger seats when sitting, or even larger seat belts etc. Because of these social problems and a lack of self esteem, it causes them to the turn towards food for comfort. Once dieting and exercising, chemical changes occur in the brain to be more focused and concentrated. Exercise affects the brain by increasing the heart rate, pumping more oxygen to the brain. It not only builds muscle, but also boost brain power being able to sleep better, feeling more energetic, less stress, and can be a morale boost. When losing weight, it would make one feel more confident and more social because there would be nothing to be ashamed of.

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Many people also claim obesity is caused by genetics. Though it may be true, anyone still has the option to change the outcome of obesity by dieting and exercising. Obesity is mainly linked with poor lifestyle choices. Some may have no choice but to eat processed or fast foods because that is all they can afford. Buying healthy and organic foods could be more expensive as for many fast food restaurants has the option of the dollar menu. “Obesity increased the most among the near poor; however, it increased the least among the poor” (Smith 16). One factor of obesity that is truly devastating is how it affects mostly the poor. Those who live from paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by are usually those who are targeted by the mass media advertisement of fast food chains. And those who are completely poor, cannot afford food. So of course obesity increase the least amongst them. But once they would acquire some money, there first option would be the dollar menu because its so cheap. The promise of cheap, fast, hot food is quite alluring when one is struggling and has no time to cook or eat healthy. When people would joke about those with obesity, certainly it causes them to feel depressed. Therefore, they would continue to eat because they are unmotivated to lose weight and the food has become a source of comfort. It then becomes something they can turn to that would not judge them or make them feel bad. What they do not realize is that although the food is good and delicious at that moment, the pleasure is fleeting but the depression would still come back. In turn, the food and the eating becomes a self destructive lifestyle.

How to Treat & Prevent Obesity

Obesity is mainly caused by an imbalanced diet. When calorie intake is exceeded, the energy is then stored as body weight. Everyday, people consume more calories faster than the body burns it. Why is healthy dieting so important? It does so much for the body. It can prevent and control health problems. Dieting is about eating less food and the appropriate food. Dieting is not about limiting food choices, but is about different varieties and proportions. A healthy diet involves consuming appropriate amounts of nutrients and a half gallon of water each day. One should develop a better understanding of nutritional value and fat content of foods by changing grocery shopping habits and timing meals. Nutrients can be obtained from many different foods, so there are numerous diets that may be considered healthy. A healthy diet needs to have a balance of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and calories to support energy needs. It provides the necessary nutrients that your body need to grow. Carbohydrates such as cereals, bread, fruits, and vegetables and proteins like meats or milk are converted as fuel ounces consumed. An unhealthy eating habit is what everyone tends to do. Processed or fast foods are high in fats and are always a first choice for people to grab a quick bite to eat. Alcohol also contains plenty of calories. Eating large proportions is also an impact because one might think eating a large meal can be enough throughout the whole day or simply just does not want to waste any food. Many people tend to comfort eat when feeling depressed or have low self esteem. Comfort eating makes people feel better to avoid all the stress. But, the more someone comfort eats, it become a cycle of unhealthy foods being consumed and having to feed the cravings. When dieting, it is best to stay away from high calorie and sugary foods which is the cause for diabetes. Dieting does not mean only having to eat salads or one large meal, but it should be courses of meals throughout the day. Enough food to be satisfied but not full. When not knowing what or how much to eat, the best way is to keep track of the calorie intake. There are many different programs that offer help or even apps on a smartphone that show the acquired amount.

Additionally, upon what an imbalanced diet causes to the body, not being physically active or exercising compounds the effects that are already caused by obesity. Being physically active or exercise is another important factor of keeping the body at a healthy weight. Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of any health problems. It protects the body by getting stronger and from easily getting injured. Why is daily exercise also important? Exercise controls weight and combats heart condition or diseases. When the body is engage in any physical activity, calories are burned. Being active helps boost blood flow, improves muscle strength and endurance. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to body tissues making the heart and lungs work more efficiently. Without exercising, it causes muscles to become weaker and is less able to function properly. It will also make bones more vulnerable and prone to break easily. The blood vessels in the muscles would not make the blood flow as smooth. If any of these are injured, the body will most likely to get ill. Exercising should be done a few times a week for about an hour and can range from walking, running, weight lifting, or any form of movement. Exercise is one great way to relieve stress.

Author’s Personal Experience

According to the BMI chart I am considered to be obese. The reason being is because I like to eat. I do realize it is starting to take a toll on my body. The only time I would be physically active is playing sports with my brothers and cousins. Once in a while I notice that I get out of breath pretty fast. One thing that sucks, is finding the right size close that'll fit. I would agree that obesity does have a psychological factor because sometimes I do feel insecure about my body. From experience I am one of those people who eat to be full and satisfied, but one thing is once I get full I instantly regret it because of the feeling to throw up. I also do suffer from skin problems from pimples or acne forming all of my body. On my are arms I’ve got keratosis pilaris. On my neck and armpits I’ve got acanthosis nigricans which are dark patches in the body folds. But what makes it worse is that also under my armpits, I’ve also got a condition of hidradenitis suppurativa which lumps are formed that I would have to drain the pus. It is very painful when the lumps occur. This develops from the result of inflammation or infection of the sweat glands. Also when the skin is rubbing against each other. These skin conditions are caused from my weight. When the pain occurs, it does put me sad state of mind because I feel embarrassed and insecure about my body. I’m somewhat glad the pain of the lumps don’t form as much as it used to but now I just suffer from the scars it left behind. The main thing I would have to do is lose weight and watch what I eat. I am starting slowly from taking walks or light jogging. I feel motivated because I know I would be more confident and my skin condition wouldn't be gone entirely but moderately less noticeable. Also because I don't want any major internal problems in my future if I keep living the way I do.


Obesity affects many adults and children worldwide that can negatively impact the quality of life and be on the verge to severe health problems. The environment that we live in and the culture we practice also plays a role in obesity. Large portions of food are consumed; however, not enough energy is burned out. Weight control is not easy and requires a persistent effort. The beneficial way to keep weight off or preventing obesity is to learn healthy habits such as dieting or exercising to avoid the consequences of any life threatening issues.


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Obesity: Causes, Complications, Factors and Preventions. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/obesity-causes-complications-factors-and-preventions/
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