Causes of Obesity

appleThe reasons for obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Obesity results from a complex interaction of genetic, behavioral and environmental factors causing an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Research has shown that in many cases a significant, underlying cause of morbid obesity is genetic. Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.

Science continues to search for answers. But until the disease is better understood, the control of excess weight is something patients must work at for their entire lives. That is why it is very important to understand that all current medical interventions, including weight loss surgery, should not be considered medical cures. Rather they are attempts to reduce the effects of excessive weight and alleviate the serious physical, emotional and social consequences of the disease.

Contributing Factors

The underlying causes of severe obesity are not known. There are many factors that contribute to the development of obesity including genetic, hereditary, environmental, metabolic and eating disorders. There are also certain medical conditions that may result in obesity like intake of steroids and hypothyroidism.

Environmental Factors

"Genetics loads the gun—the environment pulls the trigger."  George Bray, 1996

Environmental and genetic factors are obviously closely intertwined. If you have a genetic predisposition toward obesity, then the modern American lifestyle and environment may make controlling weight more difficult.

Fast food, long days sitting at a desk, and suburban neighborhoods that require cars all magnify hereditary factors such as metabolism and efficient fat storage.

For those suffering from morbid obesity, anything less than a total change in environment usually results in failure to reach and maintain a healthy body weight.

Metabolism

We used to think of weight gain or loss as only a function of calories ingested and then burned. Take in more calories than you burn, gain weight; burn more calories than you ingest, lose weight. But now we know the equation isn't that simple.
Obesity researchers now talk about a theory called the "set point," a sort of thermostat in the brain that makes people resistant to either weight gain or loss. If you try to override the set point by drastically cutting your calorie intake, your brain responds by lowering metabolism and slowing activity. You then gain back any weight you lost.

Eating Disorders & Medical Conditions

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for eating disorders. And there are medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, that can also cause weight gain. That's why it's important that you work with your doctor to make sure you do not have a condition that should be treated with medication and counseling.

 

PATIENT TESTIMONIAL
My weight issues started when I was going into my teenage years. When I got married and had two wonderful children my weight became even more out of control. Having two children and a lifelong battle with food, I finally decided that it was time to get my life and weight under control. I decided that it was time for me to under go gastric by-pass surgery. The morning I went in for my surgery I was not even a bit scared. I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. That's right FOR MYSELF! I weighed 263 lbs. that morning. 9 1/2 months later I weighed 138 lbs. I have gone from a size 22/24 to a size 4/6. Everyday is a challenge!! Some may think it was the easy way out. Those are the people who don't know what it is like to live on the other side of the scale. I would like to think I could be an inspiration to those who have had a life long battle with their weight, because I know what it is like on the other side. I no longer live on a diet. I live on what I now call "life". I said good-bye to my 20's and hello to the thin person that I have always wanted to be. Thank you Dr. Felix and your wonderfull staff. You gave me my life back. Sincerely, Cindy
 

- Cindy



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