Obesity: Causes and Effects

Posted in Health
at 2015.03.31
With 4 Comments

An individual’s weight is determined by the balance of calorie intake as well as the amount of physical activities in which he/ she participates. If a balance is maintained between these two, then an individual can maintain appropriate body weight. On the other hand if the amount of food consumed is more than the number of calories burnt, then the extra energy is stored in the body in the form of fat and as a result an individual gains weight. The mechanism of losing weight is simply the opposite of this. Below are the common causes and effects of obesity.

obesity causes effects essay

Causes of Obesity

  1. Genetics

If one or both the parents suffer from obesity, then there are increased chances that the children will also become obese. Inheritance of obesity is the reason why some new born babies are also born with obesity. Genetics plays major role in regulating fat regulation in the body. A hormone called Leptin is present in the placenta as well as fat cells in the body. Hence, it can promote obesity to some extent.

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  1. Overeating

Especially if the diet is rich in fats, then overeating is also a very common cause of obesity. Foods high in sugar/ fat as well as fried and fast food can also promote the deposition of fat in the body, ultimately leading to obesity. The frequency of eating also decides the amount of weight gained by an individual.


  1. Slow metabolism & inactivity

The more the muscles in the body, the faster the metabolism rate is. This is the reason why women have comparatively slower metabolism than men. People who lead an inactive lifestyle with minimal physical activities also tend to gain weight and become obese.

Effects of Obesity

Obesity has numerous negative effects on the body:

  1. Diabetes

Overweight individuals tend to suffer from diabetes. Usually obese people acquire Type 2 Diabetes as they reach adulthood. But this problem has now become common in children as well. Being obese interrupts the functioning of the insulin hormone in the body. This hormone is responsible for regulating blood sugar in the body.


  1. High blood pressure

Obesity puts extra pressure on the heart in order to draw enough oxygen for the tissues and cells in the body. As a result, the blood pressure increases and hence the individual suffers from high blood pressure. In an effort to supply enough oxygen to all tissues and organs in the body, heart makes blood to flow through additional blood vessels and hence is a big threat to the patient’s life.


  1. Joint problem

Osteoarthritis is also a common problem faced by obese people. Because of the stress on the legs and hip due to being overweight, an individual can suffer from joint pain.


  1. Heart disease

Hardening of the arteries, also known as Atherosclerosis, is common in people suffering from obesity. This is because of the deposition of fat along the walls of arteries and blood vessels.

Not only this, insomnia is also very common in obese people. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the only way of preventing as well as getting rid of obesity.


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4 responses to “Obesity: Causes and Effects”

  1. John M says:

    Very well written essay. Obesity is very dangerous, especially in children. I believe junk food is the main reason for obesity today. Parents need to keep an eye on the eating habits of kids.

  2. Krsity says:

    This scares me a lot. I’m moving to a healthy diet and daily workout. I’ll better eat something I don’t like but healthy, then to look ugly.

  3. Anon says:

    Thanks for pointing out that obesity could be because of genetics too. I hate when people make fun of fat people without knowing facts. Some people could be obese because of some other reasons and not because they eat a lot or don’t workout. So stop judging us.

  4. Max William says:

    Obesity is a condition in which the subject in question has excessive body fat which may pose negative effects on his/her health, and thus reducing the life expectancy of the subject and/or additionally increasing the health problems that the subject may encounter. Obesity is measured using the body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a measure that compares the height and weight of an individual to determine whether s/he is obese or pre-obese. Pre-obese people have a BMI which ranges between 25 to 30 kg/m2 and obese people are people with a BMI above 30 kg/m2. Obesity predisposes individuals to various health conditions, including type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, obstructive sleep apnea and various types of cancer. Currently, obesity is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States of America and many other developed nations round the globe. A number of European and American studies have shown that mortality risks are very low at a BMI of between 20 to 25 kg/m2 in people that do not smoke and at 24–27 kg/m2in people that smoke. The risk increases along with shifts in either direction. The same research has shown that a BMI above 32 doubles the rate of mortality among females aged above 16 years.

    Causes of obesity

    Excessive caloric intake coupled with a sedentary life is the most common cause of obesity among most obese people. A part from these common causes there a few cases of genetically caused obesity. Genetically obese people are predisposed to the condition due to their genetic make up. Other conditions may also be responsible for obesity, and these may include psychiatric illnesses, medications and endocrine disorders. Despite the genetic pre-disposure, the view that some people gain a lot of weight even with little caloric intake because of a slow metabolism is greatly limited; on average non-obese people have less energy expenditure compared to their fat counterparts because the fat people require more energy to maintain the bigger body mass. Reviews in 2006 identified another 10 potential contributors to the current rise in obesity. The causes include: (1) endocrine disruptors which influence lipid metabolism, (2) less sleep, (3) a high use of medications that increase the likelihood of being obese such as atypical antipsychotics, (4) the increase in close lineage individuals that tend to the condition, (5) pregnancy at a later age, higher BMI natural selection (6) reduced levels of smoking which is responsible for food intake suppression, (7) reduced variability of ambient temperature and (8) genetics. The research on these is inconclusive, but there is an established connection, though not as strong as the earlier stated causes.

    Psychology and obesity

    The mind over matter principle some how also reaches out to obesity and there is certainly some interactive or causal relation between a person’s emotions and mental state and his weight. The link is however complicated and not easy to explain. For example being in a state of stressful life or occupation may result in obesity. In conducted researches people that reported a single incident of job stress were at a 17% increased risk of being obese, and this rate increased with the reported cases of increased stress.

    Depression which is also one of the psychological conditions has a link to obesity, but the link is inconsistent and uncertain. There is significant prove that people at times may engage in overeating when they are stressed, this acts as a form of self medication for them. This is however inconclusive because some people in stress have been known to greatly reduce their eating and in return reduce much of their weight. Researches in to preferences of obesity have also shown that people would rather prefer many other conditions rather than be obese, and this gives a conclusive look that indeed there is a great connection between obesity and psychology.

    Management of obesity

    There is no specific treatment for obesity, but rather a combination of measures that are meant to meant to cut back on the conditions that are implicated in the cause of obesity. However, the two most major approaches are dieting and the engagement in an active exercising life. The reduction in caloric intake is meant to cut back on weight gain, whereas an exercise program is meant to cut back on any already gained weight. Dieting and exercise have been known to be effective in weight reduction, but their effect does not last as long as they are withdrawn. Thus weight maintenance requires a constant maintenance of development of a lasting habit that is developed over time and cultured into the life of an individual. As such there is no medical prescription for any obese cases. There may be drugs that may be recommended for the condition, but these are not as effective and they often lead to complication in the gastrointestinal system. The most effective cited treatment for the condition so far is bariatric surgery which is recommended for severe obesity cases. However, the high cost of this method makes it impossible for access to most people and thus making it less available to many.

    Lifestyle change as the major effective approach

    It is essential for the populace to be made aware that most of the causes of obesity are lifestyle related and not conditions that result from pre-disposure. Therefore, it is essential for people to change their lifestyle accordingly in order to avoid this condition. The areas of emphasis and concentration should be diet control and the use of exercise as the major areas of obesity control. This should incorporate the induction of an active life and a reduction of caloric intake as the major areas of control.

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