The #1 Cause of Obesity, Says Science
Obesity is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and linked to life-threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. "Americans are gaining weight, and obesity has become a national health threat. We can't place the problem purely on self-control. Why has obesity become such a weighty issue?" says J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, FACE. Here are the main causes of obesity, according to doctors. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Obesity and COVID-19
Research shows that obesity is linked to a higher risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 complications—but losing weight can significantly lower that risk. "The research findings show that patients with obesity who achieved substantial and sustained weight loss with bariatric surgery prior to a COVID-19 infection reduced their risk of developing severe illness by 60 percent," says Ali Aminian, M.D., director of Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric & Metabolic Institute. "Our study provides strong evidence that obesity is a modifiable risk factor for COVID-19 that can be improved through a successful weight-loss intervention."
Studies show that living a sedentary lifestyle with limited exercise is linked to a higher risk for obesity—which is why it's important to ensure people have access to safe spaces for working out, even just taking a walk. "There are societal and economic forces at work that we must address," says Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH. "Take, for example, the struggle of single mothers who are trying to balance work and child care. They may lack the time or resources to exercise. We shouldn't assume that people are just lazy. Their lives might be overwhelming to them. It's going to take widespread change. We shouldn't just tell patients they need to work out. We need to work with communities, employers and local governments to enable healthy lifestyles by ensuring that there are safe spaces to exercise that are cheap or free."
Bad (Or Not Enough) Sleep
Chronic stress can unleash hormones that trigger overeating, studies show. "When people are facing a stressful situation, a chain reaction is set off in the body that results in the release of cortisol, leading to higher levels of this hormone in the body," says Sarah Jackson, Ph.D. "Cortisol is involved in a broad range of biological processes, including metabolism, body composition and the accumulation of body fat. When we're stressed out we may also find it more difficult to find the motivation to go for a run or resist unhealthy foods."
The #1 Cause of Obesity Is…
The number one reason people are overweight is they eat too much, and specifically too much of the wrong types of foods: Experts believe excess sugar and overly-processed carbohydrates are fuelling the obesity epidemic. "Rather than solely treating the symptoms of obesity and related diseases with medication, we need to include efforts to use food as medicine," says Leigh A. Frame, PhD, MHS. "Chronic disease in later years is not predestined, but heavily influenced by lifestyle and diet. Decreasing obesity and chronic disease in the U.S. will require limiting processed foods and increasing intake of whole vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, and water. Health care providers must also emphasize lifestyle medicine, moving beyond 'a pill for an ill.'"
More content from ETNT Health
- – GM-357: [All] Update plugins
- – 13 Things To Know About Paxlovid, the Latest COVID-19 Pill
- – What Does It Mean To Be 'Immunocompromised'?
- – Warning Signs of a "Sudden" Stroke Everyone Should Know
- – If You Have This Gene, Be Worried About Alzheimer's
- – Most COVID Patients Have This in Common, Say Experts
- – Secret Messages Your Body Is Trying to Tell You
- – How Inflammation Affects Your Health