Obesity

What has caused the dramatic rise of overweight in ths U.S.A

What Causes Obesity?

In most cases, obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he burns. Inactivity, sleep loss, medication and heredity are a few factors that may contribute to calorie imbalances. Medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome, cause people to become obese as well.

Effects of Obesity

High Blood Pressure - Additional fat tissue in the body needs oxygen and nutrients in order to live, which requires the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. This increases the workload of the heart because it must pump more blood through additional blood vessels. More circulating blood also means more pressure on the artery walls. Higher pressure on the artery walls increases the blood pressure. In addition, extra weight can raise the heart rate and reduce the body's ability to transport blood through the vessels.


Diabetes - Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes usually begins in adulthood but, is now actually occurring in children. Obesity can cause resistance to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. When obesity causes insulin resistance, the blood sugar becomes elevated. Even moderate obesity dramatically increases the risk of diabetes.


Heart disease – atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is present 10 times more often in obese people compared to those who are not obese. Coronary artery disease is also more prevalent because fatty deposits build up in arteries that supply the heart. Narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain or a heart attack. Blood clots can also form in narrowed arteries and cause a stroke.