The Complex Causes of Obesity — And How Weight Loss Surgery Can Help

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Posted: October 24th, 2019
causes of obesity

Many people wonder why they struggle to lose weight and keep it off, even with hard work. Read on to learn about some of the factors that contribute to obesity, and what steps you can take to improve your health.

Despite claims that losing weight is simply a matter of willpower, obesity is actually a complex and multifaceted condition. What’s more, harmful and inaccurate assumptions about the causes of obesity can prevent people from getting the help they need.

It’s true that weight is tied to diet, exercise, and lifestyle, but these are not the only factors at play. As the rate of obesity rises — more than two-thirds of American adults are considered overweight or obese — it’s clear that weight gain is not simply the result of laziness or lack of motivation. Instead, it can be attributed to environmental factors, as well as elements beyond our control like genetics and metabolism.

While some people are more at risk than others, obesity does not need to be a permanent condition. Learning about the different causes of obesity can help you figure out the best ways to protect your health. From diet changes to bariatric surgery, there are many effective treatment options to help you lose weight, manage chronic conditions, and enjoy life to the fullest.

What Causes Obesity?

As work and school schedules have become more packed, daily commutes have gotten longer, and unhealthy food has become more readily available, many families have struggled to maintain a balanced diet and exercise regimen. If you’re stressed or overworked, you’re more likely to opt for quick and easy fast food or pre-packaged meals, which, when combined with a lack of exercise, can lead to weight gain. Additionally, junk food is often much cheaper and more accessible than organic fruits and vegetables, meaning lower socioeconomic groups are at an even greater risk of obesity.

Today, the food we eat is often highly processed and full of salt and sugar. Not only does this cause weight gain, but it is designed to activate the brain’s reward center, triggering a response that is similar to alcohol and drugs. In some people, this can lead to addiction. As the brain’s biochemistry changes to seek out these foods, it becomes even more difficult to make healthy choices.

In addition to these challenges, some people are genetically predisposed to obesity. In fact, you’re 25% more likely to be overweight if one or both of your parents were obese. Plus, everyone’s metabolism is different, meaning some people may simply expend less energy on a daily basis than others. Hormones play a role as well, as certain levels are required to properly regulate appetite and cause feelings of fullness after eating.

Finally, obesity may be linked to conditions such as anxiety, depression, or certain endocrine disorders. Insomnia and chronic stress have also been shown to contribute to weight gain. Further, medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics can decrease metabolism or increase appetite, causing patients to gain weight over time.

How Bariatric Surgery Can Help

Obesity has a variety of causes — from how much you exercise to the way your body processes nutrients — many of which are outside your control. However, it can result in serious weight-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain, and high blood pressure. The longer a person is obese or overweight, the more severe these health risks become.

Many people dealing with obesity have tried to lose weight several times. Some have succeeded, only to rapidly regain the pounds they lost. Fortunately, weight loss surgery can help you lose a significant amount of weight — and keep it off over the long term.

So how is bariatric surgery different from other weight loss solutions? It can’t alter your genes, but it does impact how your body digests food. For instance, a gastric bypass changes where in the gastrointestinal tract nutrients are absorbed, allowing the body to more effectively regulate insulin production. This leads to weight loss and type 2 diabetes treatment that is both comprehensive and long-lasting.

After weight loss surgery, most people see a meaningful improvement in their health, and many are able to stop taking diabetes or high blood pressure medication entirely. Further, losing weight can enhance your overall quality of life by boosting your confidence and raising your energy levels.

Taking Action

If you’ve struggled to lose weight and are considering bariatric surgery, get in touch with Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors, Long Island’s premier surgical and non-surgical weight loss practice. Drs. Hesham Atwa, Charles Thompson, and Jon Leung will help you determine which weight loss procedure is right for you, and provide support as you prepare to take this life-changing step.

If you’re ready to start your journey to the new you, give us a call! You can register for an in-person seminar (offered twice per month locally) or visit our website to learn more about what we do.