Non-dietary Factors affecting Weight Gain

Overall there are a variety of factors that play a role in obesity .

  • Behavior
  • Environment, and
  • Genetics may have an effect in causing people to be overweight and obese.

Environment

People may make decisions based on their environment or community. For example, a person may choose not to walk to the store or to work because of a lack of sidewalks. Communities, homes, and workplaces can all influence people’s health decisions. Because of this influence, it is important to create environments in these locations that make it easier to engage in physical activity and to eat a healthy diet.

“Despite obesity having strong genetic determinants, the genetic composition of the population does not change rapidly. Therefore, the large increase in . . . [obesity] must reflect major changes in non-genetic factors.”

-Hill, James O., and Trowbridge, Frederick L. Childhood obesity: future directions and research priorities. Pediatrics. 1998; Supplement: 571.External

Genetics

Science shows that genetics plays a role in obesity. Genes can directly cause obesity in specific disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.

However genes do not always predict future health. Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight. In some cases multiple genes may increase one’s susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors; such as abundant food supply or little physical activity.

Diseases and Drugs

Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain.