Submitted by ub on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:32

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat.

Both terms mean that a person's weight is higher than what is thought to be healthy for his or her height. The following are some of the causes, and risk factors

Taking in more calories than you burn can lead to obesity because the body stores unused calories as fat.

Obesity can be caused by:

Eating more food than your body can use

Drinking too much alcohol

Not getting enough exercise

Many obese people who lose large amounts of weight and gain it back think it is their fault. They blame themselves for not having the willpower to keep the weight off. Many people regain more weight than they lost.

Today, we know that biology is a big reason why some people cannot keep the weight off. Some people who live in the same place and eat the same foods become obese, while others do not. Our bodies have a complex system to help keep our weight at a healthy level. In some people, this system does not work normally.

The way we eat when we are children can affect the way we eat as adults.

The way we eat over many years becomes a habit, affecting what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.

We are surrounded by things that make it easy to overeat and hard to stay active.

Many people do not have time to plan and make healthy meals.

More people today work desk jobs compared to more active jobs in the past.

People with less free time have less time to exercise.

The term "eating disorder" means a group of medical conditions that have an unhealthy focus on eating, dieting, losing or gaining weight, and body image. A person may be obese, follow an unhealthy diet, and have an eating disorder all at the same time.

Sometimes, medical problems or treatments cause weight gain, including:

Under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)

Medicines such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and antipsychotics

Other things that can cause weight gain are:

Quitting smoking. Most people who quit smoking gain 4 - 10 pounds in the first 6 months after quitting. Some people gain as much as 25 - 30 pounds.

Stress, anxiety, feeling sad, or not sleeping well

For women: Menopause -- women may gain 12-15 pounds during menopause

Not losing the weight they gained during pregnancy

Promoting Healthy Families – Part 1