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   Your Stories > Stories of interest > An Obese Person Simp
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An Obese Person Simply Eats Too Much

If you belong to the school of thought that believes that there is no excuse for obesity and that an obese person is simply someone who eats too much and doesn't take enough exercise, then think again. While it is true that overeating combined with a sedentary lifestyle can cause obesity, it is certainly not the only cause.

Although not well understood at this time, there is believed to a genetic factor which can pre-dispose certain individuals to obesity. For example, some forms of the genes which control such things as appetite and metabolism are thought to contribute to obesity when combined with certain environmental conditions.

In addition, there are a number of genetic disorders which can result in obesity. Prader-Willi syndrome for example, named after Andrea Prader and Heinrich Willi and first described in 1956, is a genetic condition in which, amongst other things, sufferers have an insatiable appetite and accumulate excessive fat, especially within the central portion of the body.

Underlying illness can also result in weight gain and obesity. Perhaps the best know, but not the only, illness that frequently leads to obesity is hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone.

Although the condition itself produces only mild weight gain, combined with suitable environmental conditions, this can easily develop in a very substantial increase in weight.

Medication can also cause weight gain. The list of medications which can produce weight gain is very long but one class of drugs that is causing particular concern and has attracted the attention of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the new, or second generation, class of atypical antipsychotics which can have a marked effect on the metabolism.

There are also a number of specific eating disorders which will cause obesity, such as binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is a psychiatric disorder (and an element of bulimia nervosa) in which, as its name suggests, sufferers are unable to control their eating and frequently intersperse binge eating into a normal eating pattern.

Certain diets can also result in obesity without the individual realizing that it is the diet that is causing the problem. In other words this is not a case of simply eating too much, but of eating the wrong type of food. In some individuals for example certain foods will result in an unusually high level of blood sugar for a short time immediately after they have eaten.

Dieting itself can also lead to obesity. The fact of the matter is that most diets fail and we are seeing an increasing number of people who spend a substantial proportion of their lives moving from one diet to the next in an attempt to lose weight.

What happens here is that they usually lose weight while they are on a diet but then regain it, plus a bit extra, each time they come off a diet. As they move on and off a variety of diets their weight cycles up and down, but the underlying trend is for their weight to increase over time, eventually resulting in obesity.

These are just some of causes of obesity, other than simple overeating and a lack of exercise, and many of these causes are outside of the control of the individuals concerned or their ability to control the situation is very limited.

So, the next time you see an obese person you might be right in saying that they have caused their own problem, but you might equally be wrong in jumping to this conclusion.

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Donald Saunders
 
 
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