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What causes morbid obesity?

Morbid obesity is caused by multiple and complex reasons. This condition is not just a simple result of overeating. In most of the cases the cause of morbid obesity is genetic. Patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more suffer from morbid obesity.

Morbid obesity often interferes with basic functions of an individual like breathing or walking. Long-term effects of morbid obesity include shorter life expectancy, serious co-morbid conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Blaming obesity on overeating is always a handy explanation, but this is a way too simplistic of an approach and it does not cover the truth. Obesity is, of course, related to the amount of food consumed, but its reasons can be multiple and complex. Presently, obesity is a phenomenon that is not entirely understood by science and there is an ongoing search for answers and plausible explanations. Bariatric surgery can help people lose weight and thus diminish the serious physical, emotional and even social effects of the disease, but they are rather tools than cures.

The pool of genes an individual is born with influences not only eye and hair color and height, but it also has a say in metabolic tendencies, fat-storing abilities and appetite. It is shown in this regard that adopted children take after their genetic parents and not so much after their adoptive parents, who feed them and teach them eating behaviors. The fact that certain ethnic populations seem more inclined to obesity than others supports the theory that genetic factors have a say in obesity.

Metabolism is a fine mechanism with the ability to tune in to changes in eating habits. Some people might experience weight regain after a period of a low caloric diet, because their brain responds to the extreme situation perceived as a danger, by slowing down the metabolism. For this reason, weight loss is not always predictable by the simple equation: burn more than you consume.

Eating habits and activity level are in close relation to the genetic factors of obesity. A sedentary lifestyle has a more powerful impact on individuals with a genetic inclination to obesity. This is why regular exercise and a physically active lifestyle are important in the attempt to control weight.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/