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What are the Causes of Obesity?

Illustration eines fettleibigen Mannes, der aus Gründen der Fettleibigkeit zu viel isst und trinkt.

What are the Causes of Obesity?

Obesity is one of the most common health problems in the world today. Obesity is a disease that occurs when the ratio of an individual’s weight to height (Body Mass Index-BMI) is higher than the ratio considered healthy. Although its causes depend on many factors, the diseases it causes should be taken into account. Obesity affects children as well as adults.

Obesity is usually caused by overeating and not moving enough. In particular, high-calorie foods with high fat and sugar content are consumed excessively, and if the calories from these foods are not burned with physical activity, the remaining calories are stored as fat.

Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain, including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Genetic predisposition, some diseases and drugs used trigger weight gain and can cause obesity.

Who Is Considered Obese?

Not every obese person is considered obese. Rather than the value seen on the scale, the ratio of this value (taking into account the age and gender of the person) to the person’s height is important. For this purpose, body mass index is used and obesity status is evaluated according to the reference ranges of the World Health Organization.

Obesity calculation, Body Mass Index (Body Mass Index = BMI ); kg. It is calculated by dividing the body weight in meters by the square of the height in meters.

According to the values ​​found, it is considered obese over 30 kg/m2, morbidly obese over 40 kg/m2 and super obese over 50 kg/m2.

In addition to body mass index, age, gender, daily activity level, waist and hip circumference, subcutaneous fat tissue thickness and muscle mass are also important in the evaluation.


6 Factors Causing Obesity


1. Daily calorie amount

The energy value of food is measured in calorie units. In general, a physically active man needs an average of 2500 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight. This need may vary from the person’s physical activity level to their basal metabolic rate. In the same context, this value is 2000 calories for a woman.

However, high calorie rates, especially in processed foods, can lead to easily exceeding the daily requirement. For example, a fast food hamburger, french fries and a sugary drink can cause you to consume 1500 calories in one meal.

2. Malnutrition

Another common cause of obesity is malnutrition. Maintaining a diet such as eating ready-made and processed foods containing high amounts of fat and sugar, excessive alcohol consumption, excess portions, consuming too many sugary drinks, and constantly eating out for a long time and making this a lifestyle can cause obesity in the long term.

One of the most important factors triggering malnutrition today is misinformation and food marketing tactics.

The sales tactics of convenience food manufacturers can sometimes be unethical and they try to market unhealthy products as healthy foods. They make misleading claims, and worse yet, they may do so especially towards children.

For this reason, children develop obesity and become addicted to junk food long before they are old enough to make informed decisions about these foods.

In addition, factors such as the easy availability of these foods in markets and grocery stores and the fact that they are cheaper than other healthy foods trigger the further development of this factor.

3. Genetics

Studies show that genetic characteristics may contribute to obesity. Children of obese parents are more likely to be obese than children of parents who are not overweight or obese.

Genetic components affect your weight gain, but this certainly does not make weight loss impossible. It does not mean that obesity has already been determined. It would be wrong not to try to lose weight by saying that it is already in my genes. In most cases, obesity is more related to environmental factors such as poor eating habits learned in childhood.

4. Lack of Physical Activity

Lack of physical activity is one of the most important factors of obesity today. The reasons for this are that working individuals have a desk job, drive instead of walking and cycling, and many people tend to prefer television, computer games or surfing the Internet for relaxation.

If you are not exercising enough, you cannot convert the calories you take from food into energy. The remaining calories are converted into fat and stored as required by metabolism.

Adults should do activities such as brisk walking or cycling for at least 150 minutes per week.

5. Sugar and Insulin resistance

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose from your blood enter cells in your muscle, fat, and liver, where it is used for energy.

The food you eat is broken down into blood sugar. Blood sugar enters your bloodstream, causing the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar get into the body’s cells so it can be used for energy. Insulin also signals the liver to store blood sugar for later use. Blood sugar enters the cells and levels in the bloodstream drop, signaling a drop in insulin as well. Low insulin levels stimulate the liver to release stored blood sugar, so energy is always available, even if you haven’t eaten in a while.

High insulin levels and insulin resistance are linked to the development of obesity. To reduce insulin levels, it is necessary to reduce the intake of refined sugar and consume more fiber foods. In addition, excess weight increases insulin resistance and continues in this vicious circle.

6. Medical Reasons

Certain diseases can trigger weight gain. For example, thyroid-related diseases, hypothyroidism trigger weight gain by decreasing basal metabolic rate.

When diseases that cause overproduction of steroid hormones, such as Cushing’s syndrome, are treated, weight gain and obesity can be prevented.

It has been observed that some drugs used for the disease, such as anti-depressant drugs and epilepsy drugs, increase weight gain.


Obesity is a treatable disease. First of all, determining the underlying causes makes the treatment period more successful. You can find information about obesity treatments on our related page. You can determine the decision of the applications related to gastric sleeve or gastric balloon by consulting our doctor.

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