What are the main causes of being overweight or obese?
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Male Speaker: What are some of the main reasons that cause people to be overweight and obese? Dr. William McCarthy: There are number of factors that are related to obesity and overweight. First is Genetics; People maybe genetically inclined to be obese. We see obesity running in families, people who have obese parents, tend to be obese. Second there are environmental factors, it is how a person is raised, what kind of environment they are in, what their lifestyle is like. Next, we have plain old bad eating habits. People who are obese tend to skip breakfast. They tend to stack more. We also have psychological factors. There are certain psychological diseases associated with obesity. For example, nighttime eating syndrome, bulimia, binge eating disorders and also diseases like such as depression, anxiety, stress all of these factors lead to eating habits and obesity. Next we have Medical problems. There are certain medical conditions that are associated with obesity especially hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism, Cushing s disease and then there is the other issue of medications. There are number of medications that are used to treat common diseases that cause people to gain weight. Many times we are treating people who have obesity related diseases for example diabetes with medications that cause them to put on more and more weight. A lot of the antidepressants cause weight gain. Then we get into more esoteric causes, that we are just discovering, viral causes of obesity, the Human adenovirus has recently been discovered to possibly cause obesity. Even gut bacteria can alter the way food is absorbed. Some people may absorb a 100% of their food, some people 50% of their food. So, two people eat the same candy bar and get a different amount of calories in their body and it is thought that this maybe related to gut bacteria. There is a tremendous amount of research going and we will finding more and more from the cellular level, to the environmental level, to epidemiologic causes and so as we go along we are going to find that obesity and overweight is just a multifactor disease with no one single cause.