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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Marsh

The Obesity Epidemic

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

10 Possible Causes of the Obesity Epidemic


It's widely recognized that reduced physical activity and fast food consumption contribute to obesity. However, the main causes of this epidemic remain subjects of ongoing debate. To spark discussion, the International Journal of Obesity has outlined ten alternative potential causes of obesity. Exploring these factors can provide valuable insights into the complexity of the issue.

  1. Sleep Debt: Insufficient sleep has been linked to increased body weight. In today's fast-paced world, many individuals experience a significant lack of sleep.

  2. Pollution: Our hormones play a crucial role in controlling body weight, and certain pollutants in the environment can disrupt hormonal balance.

  3. Air Conditioning: When your environment is either too hot or too cold, your body expends calories to maintain a comfortable temperature. However, with the widespread use of temperature-controlled settings in homes and workplaces, more people are living in thermally stable environments.

  4. Decreased Smoking: Smoking has been associated with weight loss. As smoking rates decline, people are less likely to use this method for weight control.

  5. Medication: Numerous medications, including contraceptives, steroid hormones, diabetes drugs, certain antidepressants, and blood pressure medications, can contribute to weight gain. The use of these medications is on the rise.

  6. Population Age and Ethnicity: Middle-aged individuals and Hispanic-Americans tend to have higher obesity rates compared to young European-Americans. As the American population ages and becomes more diverse, obesity rates may continue to increase.

  7. Older Moms: Some evidence suggests that the age at which a woman gives birth may impact her child's risk of obesity. With women increasingly having children at older ages, this factor may play a role in the obesity epidemic.

  8. Ancestors' Environment: Certain influences on obesity may extend back two generations. Environmental factors that caused obesity in grandparents could potentially impact the grandchildren through a "fetal driven positive feedback loop."

  9. Obesity and Fertility: There is limited evidence suggesting that obese individuals may have higher fertility rates than lean individuals. If obesity has a genetic component, the percentage of obese individuals in the population could potentially increase.

  10. Unions of Obese Spouses: Obese women often marry obese men. If obesity has a genetic component, this trend could contribute to a higher number of obese individuals in the next generation.

These alternative contributing factors warrant further attention and study. Additionally, other factors, such as fat-inducing viruses, increased childhood depression rates, reduced consumption of dairy products, and the use of hormones in agriculture, may also play a role in the obesity epidemic. What are your thoughts on the possible causes of this ongoing issue?

Site Sources:
  • International Journal of Obesity

Recommended Reading:
  1. "Understanding the Link Between Sleep and Weight"

  2. "Pollution and Its Impact on Hormonal Balance" - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

  3. "Medication Side Effects: A Comprehensive Guide"

  4. "Demographic Shifts and Obesity Rates: Exploring the Connection" - Journal of Public Health

  5. "The Genetics of Obesity: Unraveling the Complexities"


This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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