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Weight gain: Why obesity continues to rise

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 Weight Gain: Why does obesity continue to rise? 

Why is weight gain so prevalent in our society? 

How can you reduce your dietary fat and still continue to have weight gain?  Some experts believe that weight gain is not strictly related to the amount of dietary fat consumed in your diet.  Also, in spite of the focus on hereditary factors, obesity is probably not strictly a function of hereditary factors either.  Most experts seem to point to the environment as the main culprit, which encourages excess consumption of calories along with a very limited amount of physical exercise. 

Some of the environmental determinants of weight gain may be that Western culture has made available an abundance of convenient, inexpensive foods, which are almost everywhere you look.  Portion sizes have also increased significantly.  If you pay attention to the size of beverages and food portions available at convenient stores and restaurant’s, it becomes obvious that patrons expect to have large portions in order to get their money’s worth.  Even though low-fat foods are now readily available, they frequently contain a high amount of calories, compared to traditional low-fat foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Subsequently, it appears that many in Western societies (especially the U.S) have become habituated to consuming too many calories without even being aware of it. 


The lack of exercise is also considered to be a major contributing factor to increased weight gain in our society.  Today’s active lifestyle frequently does not include physical activity.  As people have become much busier, they often give up sports and physical activities that they did in adolescence or early adulthood. Technological advances have made our lives much more sedentary at work and home. Children have become much more sedentary, spending more time indoors playing video games and watching television. 

In summary, while genetic susceptibility and dietary fat intake may seem to be the key contributory factors to weight gain in many people’s minds, in actuality, it is probably more related to the intake of too many calories along with too little physical activity.  Unless these lifestyle changes are reversed, weight gain and obesity will probably continue to rise, along with obesity related health problems. Fortunately, these health-related conditions will probably be reduced correspondingly along with reductions in obesity and weight gain.

Information From The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health After 50

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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