According to an article published by US National Library Of Medicine, there are more than 30 million obese people in India and the number is increasing with each year. Obesity is more common in women than in men and in urban cities in India, the problem seems to be a bigger one. More than 23% of women living in urbanised areas are either overweight or obese. In this article, we will discuss the causes of obesity in women in brief.
According to the World Health Organisation, obesity or being overweight can be defined as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.”
Body mass index (BMI) is used to figure out if a person is overweight/obese. BMI is measured by a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters.
However, overweight and obese don’t mean the same thing. A person may weigh slightly more than the ideal weight for his height but this doesn’t mean that he is obese. However, when a person is extremely overweight, it leads to obesity.
Obesity can further make way for cardiovascular diseases, degenerative diseases of the joints, other musculoskeletal disorders, cancers like breast, ovarian, liver, kidney etc. If being overweight and obesity are not treated on time, they could also ultimately cause premature death and disabilities in old age.
Let us take a look at the common causes of obesity in women:
The main reason is quite simple, the more you eat, the more weight you will put on. Obesity is caused when too much food is consumed but there is a lack of physical activity in the body. Eating too much and not exercising cause the calories to build up which then causes obesity. An average woman should consume about 1800-2200 calories each day. Anything over this is an excess. One must burn off the fats and sugars consumed through exercise or physical activities to avoid being overweight or obese.
While eating excessive amounts of food causes obesity, bad eating habits also contribute to obesity. Eating large quantities of processed or fast food, not eating healthy meals at home, eating larger portions than the body requires, drinking aerated beverages with processed sugar, eating oily and fried food, comfort eating – all of these can cause obesity.
One may assume that since alcohol is a liquid, it doesn’t help in putting on weight. However, that assumption is absolutely false. As alcohol contains a lot of calories, people who drink heavily often put on weight easily and then become overweight.
Studies have shown that one can inherit a tendency towards obesity. If one or both your parents are obese, your chances of becoming obese increases by 25%. Genes also influence where in our body the fat would settle the most, for some of us, it may be our thighs, for some it may their paunch. However, some may mistake their reason for obesity as genetics when it could just be poor eating habits that were learned in childhood.
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Sometimes no matter how hard one tries to stay fit and active, obesity could still afflict them. Some underlying medical conditions like hypothyroidism (where the thyroid gland is underactive) or Cushing’s syndrome (a disorder that causes the over-production of steroid hormones) can cause obesity.
Some medications that you may be taking for some other illness may cause you to weight gain as a side-effect. If you don’t follow a strict diet and exercise routine, these medications can make your face and body swell up. Some of these medicines fall under antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and diabetes medicines etc.
Obesity can also be linked to a person’s economic/financial status and how she/he fits into her social setting/background. If a woman doesn’t have enough space in her home nor has safe spaces around her home to exercise, it is only natural that she will easily put on weight. Obesity also depends on how food is being cooked the ingredients used for cooking. A woman belonging to a poor family may not have had the right knowledge or even education to cook healthier food options. If a woman spends more time with obese women, she is likely to develop their eating habits and become obese herself.
While a person can become obese at any age, even when one is a child, older people are more at risk of becoming overweight and obese. Hormonal changes in the body and a less active lifestyle increase your chances of obesity. The amount of muscles in the body also decrease with age and due to lower muscle mass there is a decrease in metabolism. Hence, our we put on weight easily and it is harder to lose weight as well.
Also read: Does Gaining Weight Cause Irregular Periods?
A pregnant woman is asked to eat for two throughout her pregnancy. While she need not eat for two, she does need to take in 300 extra calories each day. With a growing baby inside her womb, a pregnant woman necessarily puts on weight and some women find it extremely hard to lose that weight. This weight gain may eventually develop into obesity.
We all know how a nap can absolutely do amazing things for us. It refreshes and helps us in clearing our heads. But not napping or sleeping enough can negatively affect not only our mood but our health as well. Lack of sleep causes changes in hormones which increases our appetite. It may also lead to craving of foods high in carbohydrates which contributes to weight gain.
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