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Unexpected causes of obesity

We are constantly hearing that obesity is on the rise. But why is that? The reasons are many. Although some of those explanations get a fair amount of publicity, others fly under the radar.

Why you might be overweight
Overweight couple

Read on as we share some unexpected causes of obesity so you can be as informed as possible.

Having friends or family who are overweight

The Doctors report that obesity can in fact be socially contagious. Being surrounded by people who make poor food choices can cause you to be more inclined to make those negative decisions as well. Similarily, spending time with people who exercise and eat right can motivate you to do the same. This doesn’t mean you should cut all ties with individuals who are struggling to make healthy choices, but keep in mind that your behaviour doesn’t have to mimic the choices of others if those choices are unhealthy. Even better, aim to work with these people to achieve health success together.

Your environment

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, your environment can play a huge role in your risk of obesity. They list not having access to enough sidewalks, trails, parks or fitness gyms as a reason people may be more at risk of obesity. Not having a nearby source of healthy foods, such as a well-stocked supermarket, may also be a factor. In addition, overpowering marketing campaigns for large portions and sugary or fat-laden products may cause individuals to be more at risk. Living in such circumstances is undeniably a challenge, but it shouldn’t mean the end for your health goals. If you feel the environment is playing a role in your life or the lives of your loved ones, make a conscious choice to seek help and find solutions that work for you.


Nature versus nurture is an ongoing debate in a variety of areas, including the subject of obesity. The Canadian Obesity Network reports that a study done in the 1990s showed that twins who were separated at birth and raised by different adoptive parents wound up with very similar adult BMIs (body mass index). Another study done by the University of Cambridge indicated that early onset childhood obesity may be caused by a genetic mutation. Children affected by this mutation never achieve satiety and therefore constantly seek out more food. So there certainly can be a genetic component to obesity. The researchers do, however, stress the fact that environment also plays a large role, and a healthy lifestyle can only be achieved by balancing the two components.

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