Obesity can be defined as the generalized accumulation of excess adipose tissue in the body resulting in an increase of more than 20 percent of the desirable weight. Obesity is due to positive energy balance where the intake of calories (from the diet) is more than the expenditure of calories (physical activity)
Factors that contribute to obesity:
1. Genetic factors: Genetic inheritance influences 50-70 percent a person's chance of becoming obese. If both parents are obese the chance in children is 80 percent and 70 percent if neither parent is obese.
2. Age and sex: It can occur at any age and in either sex as long as the person is in a positive energy balance.
3. Eating habits: Nibbling between meals is a potential cause for obesity. Excessive consumption of relatively cheap carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and potato is another predisposing factor (rather than low calorie fruits and vegetables). It is the total intake of calories rather than the frequency of meals that causes obesity.
4. Physical activity: Obesity is more common after the age of 35 when physical activity decreases and food consumption either remains the same or may increase with improved economic status.
5. Endocrine factor: Dysfunction of the thyroid and pituitary may result in obesity.
Trauma: Obesity may follow due to damage to hypothalamus after head injury because it is not able to regulate appetite or satiety.
Factors: For people who are bored, lonely, discontented or depressed food becomes
the focal point, leading to obesity as shown in fig..