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In the U.S., health experts and celebrities constantly discuss the causes of obesity

If we already know the causes of obesity, then why is it so hard to lose weight? If an alien from Mars watched our television or read our magazines, he would probably ask why humans are so fat. Was it a natural plan for our species to grow this large?

Facts about obesity

If you don't live in a cave, you have heard that obesity rates are out of control. This is true in the U.S. and in many other countries. Here are 20 facts on obesity that will make you wonder what the heck is going on.

Common beliefs about obesity

Most people have some ideas the causes of obesity. Common reasons they give are:

Dieting and obesity

Every doctor and dietitian says if you want to lose weight you must go on a diet.
But does this actually work?
  • "Counting calories" diet. Everyone says to eat less and exercise more if you want to lose weight. This is how a counting calories diet can make you gain weight.

  • Eating in moderation. Some dietitians say there are no bad foods. You can eat anything you like as long as you don't eat too much. Eating all foods in moderation is similar to counting calories. It often doesn't work. Counting calories and trying to eat all foods in moderation are actually causes of obesity.

A toxic food environment

Kelly Brownell, author of Food Fight, says that one of the main reasons for obesity in the U.S. is that we live in a toxic food environment. What does he mean?

three pies
Foods like this are part of our toxic food environment.

Lifestyle reasons for obesity

  • Sitting in chairs. We go from sitting in our car to sitting at work to sitting in front of the television. Recent research shows that too many hours sitting in chairs harms us in unexpected ways.

  • Eating at night. After a hard day at work, you finally have time to relax. You eat dinner. Then you keep on eating at night until you go to bed. You don't need the calories but you do it anyway.

  • Stress eating. Some people lose their appetite when they are stressed out. Others find themselves stress eating. Which kind of person are you?

Health factors in obesity

  • Depression and overeating. Depression is linked with overeating in many people. 

  • Health conditions and drugs. There are other causes of obesity, like thyroid problems and drug side effects. Work with your doctor to find solutions to these problems.

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