Obesity is one problem which brings along many other health problems. This is the reason why it has become a matter of primary concern in countries around the world. Obesity is linked to much fatal and life-threatening health conditions because of which it can be termed as one of the biggest health problems in the world today. With obesity, come many diseases which are responsible for the death of millions of people around the world. Some of the most commonly known diseases and health problems attached to obesity are diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, dementia etc. People don’t want to get obese but there are various factors because of which obesity has really become such a problem which is growing out of control.
Scientific research and studies are being carried out to understand about the reasons behind the growing obesity in people these days. Most people relate obesity with willpower too but the fact is that obesity has nothing to do with willpower. It is true that gaining weight can also be a result of our behavior which includes eating too much but that is not the only reason for all forms of obesity. The simple theory is that if we consume more calories than we can burn then our body will gain weight. Similarly, if we consume fewer calories and we work out more then we will lose weight. It is important to note that eating behavior is just like a biological process which is affected by other factors which include genetics, hormones, and neural circuits. So if a person is growing fat because of overeating then it is not just the poor willpower of the person which is causing that behavior.
There are various internal and external factors which will affect the weight of a person no matter how strong willpower that person may have. So weight gain and obesity have nothing to do with willpower. The main reasons for obesity, weight gain, and obesity-related health problems are as mentioned below.
- Genetic composition
Obesity is very much related to Genetic components as well. If the parents of a child are obese then it is very likely that the child will also have problem-related to obesity. However, Obesity is not fixed from before according to the genes. In most non-industrialized society when people resort to fast food or western kind of diet then, problems related to obesity may arise. This happens because their food and lifestyle may have changed but their genetic remained the same. The environment changed over time but the signals they sent to the genes did not change. So there are various evidence to the fact that Genes play an important role in determining obesity in a person.
- Over-reliance on junk and processed food
Nowadays people hardly rely on home cooked food. People are mostly busy these days so they want to spend less time in cooking and preparing food. That is the reason why people depend on processed and junk food which they can get in a short period of time. However such kind of food has a negative impact on our health. The junk food is prepared using different types of refined ingredients and chemicals. These types of food are prepared and designed in such a manner that they can be available at a cheap price and can be stored for a long time. It is also prepared to taste much better because of which we want to eat in more quantity. Such food is prepared in such a way that they can be considered as hyper-palatable because of which we want to eat a lot of it. The target of the producer is to increase its sales. In fact, the junk food and packaged food these days are products designed in such a way that we get obsessed with it. As a result of which, we indulge in overeating. In the end, such kind of behavior will result in the obesity problem.
- Aggressive advertising
We all have seen the advertisements and marketing campaign of the fast food chains or junk food in television and different media. The junk food target the customers with aggressive marketing campaigns. Most of the unhealthy food materials are advertised to be healthy food in those advertisements. People easily fall to those advertisements which deliver misleading information to the people regarding the food items. Millions of dollars are spent on celebrities who promote the particular brand or junk food. Similarly, a lot of money can also be spent to make an influence on the scientists and research related to the impact of such food. We have seen many such advertisements which are aggressively targeted to the children. These kinds of campaigns are even more dangerous than the alcohol and tobacco companies. As a result of most children being addicted to junk food, nowadays children are becoming more obese. Things get even worse when the occurrence of health problems like diabetes rise in children.
- Addiction to food
These junk foods are engineered in such a way that eating them will cause stimulation in the brain covering the reward centers. It may cause the similar effect which is caused by drugs including alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and cannabis. Junk food may cause a high level of addiction in any person who mostly relies on junk food. It is similar to a drug addict who loses control of his drug addiction. Just like that, a person may lose control as to how much he should really eat. When a person is addicted to something then it is tough to be free from that. Addiction may cause kind of brain activity because of which we lose control on the choices we can make. We are more controlled by the brain activity which will make us act according to our addiction to the food. As a result of that, a person will indulge in overeating and it will cause obesity.
- Side effects of particular medications
You may be prescribed to particular types of pharmaceutical drugs which may cause obesity then you may witness weight gain. Certain medications prescribed to treat depression, diabetes or psychological problems may cause obesity. These medications may disturb the function of the body and the brain. As a result of that process, the body will not burn the fat but it will store it instead.
- Effect of Insulin
One of the important hormones in our body is insulin. It is necessary to maintain the storage of energy. In simple language, what insulin does is that it instructs the fat cells to store the fat. Eating too much of western junk food can cause insulin resistance in some people because of which the insulin level in the body may go high. This causes energy to be stored in fat cells and it will not be available to be used by the body. You have to lower the intake of carbohydrates to reduce the insulin level. Since carbohydrate is reduced then calorie intake is reduced automatically and you can lose weight.
- Effect of Leptin Hormone
Leptin is another hormone which can play a crucial role in causing obesity, Leptin hormone is produced by fat cells. Hypothalamus is outer part of the brain which controls the intake of food. Leptin is actually supposed to send messages to the Hypothalamus when a person is full and it is necessary to stop eating anymore. When a person is obese, the person will have too much fat and the higher level of leptin in the body. In such cases, the leptin may not be able to work in its natural way. The brain may become resistant to leptin as a result leptin resistance occurs in the individual. This is one of the main causes of obesity.
The inclusion of sugar in high quantity in our daily diet is a big problem these days. When sugar is consumed in large quantity then it may result in a biochemical change of the body. This may cause obesity. Added sugar is used in most prepared food these days. Added sugar is known to be half glucose and fructose. Our body gets the glucose from different food but fructose is available only through added sugar. Fructose may cause resistance to insulin because of which the level of insulin will go high in the body. It can also result in leptin resistance. Insulin resistance and leptin resistance will ultimately cause storage of energy leading to more obesity.
- Availability of food
Junk and unhealthy type of food are available everywhere now. If you have some money you can easily get your hands on the food that you want. The food may contain such ingredients which can contribute substantially to the increase in weight. Nowadays we can easily get food in every corner of the street. We are more inclined towards impulsive purchasing where we buy things when we see them. We may not actually need those things but we buy it when we see them. For example, chocolates in a store will attract the customer even if they don’t intend to buy it in the first place. Nowadays the main problem is that food is available everywhere and they are available at a cheap price. Junk food and unhealthy food is much cheaper than the real healthy type of food because of which people go for the junk food. Junk food like sodas, candy and processed, packaged junk foods are available in stores everywhere and most of the times we don’t have any other choice than going for these type of food which adversely affect our health.
- Wrong Information
In today’s world, we hear and believe things which we want to hear. People tend to get the wrong information related to the food that we eat in our everyday lives. The big international companies producing junk food spend millions of dollars to influence the scientific researches carried out about the effect of such food. The food company spends money on the scientists and different organizations working in the field. It is known that companies like Coca-cola, Kellogg’s and Pepsico spend the huge amount of money on Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Many drug companies are sponsoring organizations like American Diabetes Association. The government in most countries has prepared guidelines according to the interest of the companies instead of working to protect the health of the people. Everyone is telling a lie these days. The companies, research organizations, scientists, and even the government is providing wrong information to the people because of which the people find it difficult to make the correct choice. As a result of that, people tend to rely on processed and junk food which leads to the severe form of obesity.
Finally, it should be kept in mind that there are many factors which are beyond our control leading to obesity. But that doesn’t mean that we give up and accept our problem in life. It is possible to control and maintain our weight unless the person has some particular kind of health issues. The most important thing to understand is that getting rid of obesity is only possible with hard work, determination and strict change in lifestyle. This article is intended to focus on the point that willpower and self-control is not the only reason for obesity. All the people, governments and organizations should work together to regulate the food that we eat. It is necessary to make this world a better place to live in. That is only possible if we get healthy food to eat. The multinational companies want the people to believe that willpower is the main reason behind obesity but that is not the truth. Special measures should be taken on a global scale to fight with this problem of obesity.