A number of factors can play a role in weight gain. These include diet, lack of exercise, factors in a person’s environment, and genetics. Some of these factors are discussed briefly below. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers more information on the causes of overweight and obesity.
People gain weight when they eat more calories than they burn through activity. This imbalance is the greatest contributor to weight gain.
The world around us influences our ability to maintain a healthy weight. For example:
Research shows that genetics plays a role in obesity. Genes can directly cause obesity in such disorders as Prader-Willi syndrome.
Genes also may contribute to a person’s susceptibility to weight gain. Scientists believe that genes may increase a person’s likelihood of becoming obese but that outside factors, such as an abundant food supply or little physical activity, also may be required for a person to put on excess weight.2
Some hormone problems may cause overweight and obesity, such as underactive thyroid, Cushing syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Certain medicines also may cause weight gain, including some corticosteroids, antidepressants, and seizure medicines.1
Some people eat more than usual when they are bored, angry, upset, or stressed.
Studies also have found that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese. This is partly because hormones that are released during sleep control appetite and the body’s use of energy.1
All related topics
All related news