Weight gain is a problem for a substantial portion of Americans. Nearly two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight and 24.9 percent suffer from obesity. When someone is overweight or obese as a child, they have a much higher chance of being overweight as an adult, as well. Others gain weight as they age or when they give up active lifestyles in favor of more sedentary habits. Understanding the underlying causes of weight gain and how to battle them can help people lose weight and keep it off.
Common Causes of Weight Gain
In the most basic terms, we gain weight when we consume more calories than we expend. Often, the process of weight gain is so gradual that it takes a while to notice it.
As we age, our metabolism slows. So, if we eat the same amount that we did when we were younger, we can wind up gaining a few pounds a year. In other cases, giving up sports and active hobbies and spending more time on sedentary activities means that we burn fewer calories than before. Over time, this can cause a person to become overweight. Some of the factors that can lead to weight gain include:
- Our genes. Kids who have parents who are obese are more likely to become obese themselves as adults.
- Aging. As we age, we go through hormonal changes and changes in our activity levels that can contribute to weight gain.
- Medications. Many medications can lead to overeating and weight gain.
- Our environment. If we spend time around people who are sedentary and unhealthy diets, we are likely to adopt those bad habits ourselves.
- Our general health. If someone is in poor physical health, they are unlikely to get the exercise that they need.
Managing Weight Gain
While there are many factors that can cause you to gain weight, being aware of them and making appropriate lifestyle changes can combat them. A few things that can help:
- Get enough sleep. People who are sleep deprived are more likely to gain weight.
- Eat a varied diet full of fruits and vegetables. Talk to a nutritionist if you need help developing a meal plan.
- Get plenty of physical activity. Experts recommend 30 minutes a day five times a week.
By consciously pursuing healthier habits, you can control weight gain and even lose excess weight.