What are Common Causes of Obesity in Women?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 May 2020
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Obesity in women has many common causes. Genetics and family history play a large role. The natural aging process is another factor that leads to obesity. Obese women who are pregnant put their unborn children at risk. Fighting obesity in women requires lifestyle changes and supervision by a physician.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Though this calculation is not the only measurement of obesity, it is a convenient way for a woman to determine if she is at an unhealthy weight. A BMI above 30 puts one at risk for many preventable physical conditions such as heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression. As these and other conditions can occur simultaneously, quality of life drops dramatically. Depending on the degree of obesity, one's life is shortened by five to ten years.

Genetics are a key factor of obesity in women. Genetics determine the number of fat cells one creates early in life. A large number of fat cells is not necessarily unhealthy, but their presence allows the body to become obese with the addition of bad eating habits. One's genes also set the body's metabolic rate; a slow metabolism combined with overeating leads to rapid weight gain.

A woman's family history is more than the genes that she inherited from her parents and gave to her children. An equal factor in family obesity is every person's shared eating habits and lifestyle. For example, if a household contains only unhealthy food, that is what everyone will eat. Every family member's predisposition to obesity will cause weight gain. This weight gain will speed up if the family puts little value in physical exercise.

Obesity in women also regularly occurs later in life. As a woman ages her metabolism slows down due to hormonal changes and loss of muscle. Obesity is the result when a women does not change her eating habits and lifestyle in response. This type of obesity is especially harmful as excess weight worsens other medical conditions a woman may develop due to aging.

Obese women who become pregnant are putting their unborn children and themselves at risk. Obesity raises the chances that a pregnant woman will develop gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. The risk of postpartum infection also increases. The unborn child is put at a higher risk of childhood obesity and neural tube defects. Obesity and pregnancy are never a safe combination.

Obesity in women is treatable. Before starting any weight loss program, though, a woman should consult her primary physician. Besides being able to offer advice, a physician will perform a physical to determine whether obesity has already caused any complications such as diabetes. Starting a weight loss program without knowing one has a medical condition can cause serious medical side effects. With proper dietary and lifestyle changes, a woman can expect gradual weight loss.


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