1. Diet – it’s pretty obvious that when you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight. America has become the most obese nation because it eats way too much. Words like “Super size”, Biggie size, reflect out obsession with huge portions of food. Turn on the television and you’ll see multiple networks dedicated to food!
2. Exercise…or lack thereof – we have become a sedentary society. Besides sleep, people spend their time either working or being entertained. Work and entertainment used to be spent doing physical activities that kept people at a healthy weight. Nowadays work has become sedentary where people spend their time sitting at a desk not moving. Entertainment has also become sedentary. People spend hours watching movies, playing video games, and surfing the internet. This great societal shift has turned us from active to inactive.
3. Lack of Sleep – Americans seem to take pride in being able to operate on only a few hours of sleep a night. Most Americans average about six hours a night. That is a shortage of two hours off the recommendation of eight hours per night.
Hormones that regulate the appetite get out of balance when people are sleep deprived. When a lack of sleep occurs, the hormone that tells your brain you’re full does not kick in as fast so you end up overeating. People who are sleep deprived also are too tired to exercise, which compounds the problem.
4. Pollution – pollution in the air, in the foods we eat, and in our drinking water have caused many people’s hormone levels to be off balance. Hormones control weight, so when they are off balance, the pounds can pile on.
5. Medication – there’s a drug for everything these days. Many people are on medications that have side effects that include weight gain. Drugs ranging from contraceptives, hormones, antidepressants, blood pressure, and diabetes can all cause people to gain weight.
6. Air conditioning – air conditioning is a great modern convenience, but experts have found that people who live in air conditioned environments tend to be more overweight than those who do not. Why you ask? The answer is the body does not have to work as hard to regulate body temperature. Your body will burn more calories when it is too hot or cold.
7. Older mothers – evidence suggests that women who give birth at an older age are more likely to have obese children. Women are giving birth at a much older age than ever before. Things like career and school have caused women to delay pregnancy well into their thirties and even forties.
8. Having an obese or overweight spouse – the old saying of “birds of a feather flock together” rings true. People who are overweight tend to marry each other and carry on their bad habits. The statistics show that people who are obese are much more likely to have obese children. They get caught in a generational cycle that continues.
9. Ancestral environment – genetic influences that lead to obesity can go back as far as three generations. Scientists have discovered what are called “fetally driven feedback loops” that can show up in the genetic makeup of a person that can contribute to obesity.
10. Ethnicity – studies have found that African Americans and Hispanics tend to be more obese than Europeans of a similar age. Many traditional food dishes from these two cultures are not healthy.