Here are some of the things that make it more likely that you’ll get obese. It’s probably a combination of these that lead to obesity in most people. 1 2
Your parents and your genes

You’re at risk of obesity if one or both of your parents is overweight or obese. This might be because you share the same genes as your parents. Or it could be because family members tend to eat the same things and have a similar lifestyle. 3

The ob gene

Genes are in every cell in your body. They tell cells how to grow and what to do. The ob genetells the cells in your body that store fat to make a chemical called leptin. Leptin tells the brain how hungry or how full you feel. It also helps your body burn the food you eat to keep you warm.

Researchers think that some people who are obese might have a faulty ob gene. So these people don’t make enough leptin. This makes it harder for them to control how much they eat because they don’t sense when they feel hungry or full. This makes them more likely to be obese. 4
But this problem is rare. Most people with obesity don’t have this problem.
Comfort eating

You might eat too much as a way of dealing with painful or difficult emotions. Perhaps you eat when you feel unhappy or bored, even when you don’t feel hungry. This is often called comfort eating. It can be hard to break this habit.

You might also eat too much if you have a mental health condition, such as depression oranxiety disorder, or if you feel bad about yourself (have low self-esteem).
Other risk factors

Many things make it more likely that you’ll gain too much weight. If you’re overweight, there’s a risk you might get obese.

  • Your sex: Women are slightly more likely to be overweight than men are.
  • Your ethnic group: Women who are Mexican American or African-American are particularly at risk.
  • Age: Men and women are most likely to gain weight between the ages of 20 and 40.
  • Menopause: The changes in levels of hormones during menopause can make it easier to gain weight.
  • Drinking too much alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are high in calories.
  • Quitting smoking: Quitting smoking is good for your health, but you might gain weight afterward.
  • Being married: Married people are more likely to be overweight than those who stay single.
  • Having children: Women are likely to gain about 2 pounds each time they have a baby.
  • Poor education: People who do less well at school are more likely to get obese later in life.
Sources for the information on this page:

  1. Kopelman PG.Obesity as a medical problem.Nature. 2000; 404: 635-643.
  2. Hughes D, McGuire A.A review of the economic analysis of obesity.British Medical Bulletin. 1997; 53: 253-263.
  3. Flier JS, Foster DW.Eating disorders: obesity, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa.In: Wilson JD, Foster DW, Kronenberg HM, et al (editors). Williams textbook of endocrinology. 9th edition. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, U.S.A.; 1998.
  4. Flier JS.Obesity.In: Braunwald E, Hauser SL, Fauci AS, et al (editors). Harrison’s principles of internal medicine. 15th edition. McGraw Hill, New York, U.S.A.; 2001.



About EdR

Tant que les lions n’auront pas leurs propres historiens, les histoires de chasse continueront de glorifier le chasseur. (proverbe africain)

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