The Big Two and the Mighty Ten in the Obesity Epidemic: by Dr Damiana Corca, L.Ac., DOM
The obesity rates are globally skyrocketing. In spite of the advanced technology available in our current healthcare system, solutions are far from being found and a so-called “cure” it is nothing but a merry chase.
The culprits for obesity are highlighted in two major causes. However, David B. Allison, PhD, and his colleagues have pointed out ten additional causes in their paper published in the International Journal of Obesity.
“The Big Two”
- Food marketing practices: Increased food sizes, high availability of cheap fast food and vending machines with energy dense foods, and an upsurge of high fructose syrup usage.
- Decreased physical exercise: less exercise in schools and a general decrease in physical activity.
The Mighty Ten
- Sleep debt: Numerous studies over the last 40 years show that lack of sleep affect the appetite. Increased tiredness can often lead to increased snacking.
- Pollution: Different pollutants such as pesticides, solvents, heavy metals are endocrine disruptors and they can easily affect the fat metabolism. The exposure to BPA, found in the processing of plastic, is of particular importance as it strongly influences estrogen and androgen. What’s more worrying is that BPA accumulates in the human placenta thus directly affecting the fetus.
- Air conditioning/heating: Lack of variability in ambient temperature causes the body to expend less energy thus increasing the fat storage.
- Decreased smoking: This does not come as a surprise, but smokers weigh less and usually gain weight after stopping. This of course, is not by any means a way to keep the weight down.
- Medications: Many pharmaceuticals such psychotropic medications, antidiabetics, antihypertensives, steroid hormones and contraceptives, antihistamines, and protease inhibitors can cause weight gain.
- Demographics: Older adults and some ethnic groups have higher obesity rates.
- Increasing gravida age: The maternal age has increased tremendously in the past decades and unfortunately is a high risk for the offspring weight management.
- Intrauterine/intergenerational effects: Environmental changes in uterus see to affect obesity rates. In addition, as far back as two generations may influence the risk of obesity.
- Obesity-fertility link: Moderately obese people may be more fertile than lean individuals, which may select for genotypes predisposed for obesity.
- Union of obese spouses: Marriage between obese men and women may also increase risk of obese offspring.
A clear understanding of the causes of obesity is definitely an important step. Prevention can oftentimes offer the answer for many. However, after a certain point help from a healthcare practitioner is highly indicated. Integrated practices such as Nutritional Consultation, Acupuncture, Herbology, and appropriate exercise practices are a just a few ways that can help achieve a healthy weight management.
Read more articles by Dr Damiana at Elite HealthPlex Clinic.
David B. Allison et al. Ten Putative Contributors to the Obesity Epidemic. Published in final edited form as: Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 November ; 49(10): 868–913. doi:10.1080/10408390903372599.
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