Causes of Obesity in America

It’s no secret that obesity in America is more of a health issue than it has ever been before. There are a number of factors that have led to a larger segment of the population being overweight, some even reaching the level of being considered morbidly obese. However, there is not any one cause that has led to this situation. In fact, there are several – some of which many people never consider.

Far and away, the major cause of obesity in America has to do with the increasing level of inactivity found among all age groups. Despite the many spas, fitness centers, and gyms in operation across the nation, the fact is that most Americans lead sedentary lifestyles. Unlike past generations, people today do not engage in laborious tasks or even play out of doors as often as our forebears. Instead, we sit in front of a computer all day at work, sit in our vehicles on the way home, and settle in to watch television while we eat.

The end result of all this comfortable modern living has been that we don’t burn calories or build muscle from daily activities as we once did. Children who spend the day playing electronic games are more likely to gain weight, since they are not outside play sports, riding bikes, or even just walking around the neighborhood with their friends. In like manner, adults are more likely to drive to the store, even if it is only two blocks away. At the same time, everyone is eating larger portions, consuming more fatty foods, and including less fruits and vegetables in their meals. As a result, we gain weight and run the risk of developing a wide range of health issues, including diabetes and heart disease.

However, not everyone who is obese in America today got there by eating too much and moving about too little. Some people have a genetic predisposition toward obesity. When this is the case, it often takes a great deal of willpower to even begin to keep body weight within a healthy range. Given the fact that modern America tends to migrate toward instant gratification, employing willpower is easier to say than do. Unless people with a genetic predisposition to extra weight have a solid support network of friends and family, and a doctor who understands the root cause for the weight gain, there is little to no chance of beating the odds and keeping the extra weight off.

Along with genetics, there are also certain medical conditions that pave the way for obesity. Hypothyroidism is one example. This malfunction of the thyroid can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients in the body, which in turn can lead to packing on extra pounds. Unfortunately, not everyone who has a hypoactive thyroid is diagnosed with the problem, a situation that causes many people to assume they are simply doomed to carry excess weight all their lives. However, when hypothyroidism is diagnosed and successfully treated, the weight will be begin to drop to normal levels, and greatly enhance the quality of life for the individual.

Mental disorders can also lead to obesity. Depression, anxiety, and event eating disorders can all lead to packing on additional pounds. Like a hypoactive thyroid, proper diagnosis of the health issue is necessary before any attempts to get rid of the excess poundage will be successful. Once depression is under control, the individual is less likely to binge in an attempt to drive the melancholy away. If the individual suffering with an eating disorder can overcome unreasonable expectations regarding appearance, the need to binge and possibly purge will begin to fade. With these situations, counseling as well as getting rid of bad habits and learning more productive ways to live will make all the difference in the world.

While there are many reasons for obesity in America, none of them are so dire that they cannot be addressed and overcome. While not everyone can achieve the ideal appearance that is expected of celebrities, most people can lose the excess pounds and become happy, healthy, and in general more satisfied with their lives. With patience, time, and a firm plan of how to deal with the root cause, it is possible to move away from obesity and reduce the chances of developing one or more serious diseases that make life so much more difficult.


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