What causes obesity?
What causes obesity?

There is no single cause for obesity. Overeating – eating more calories than your body uses or burns up – is the main cause. Calories are a unit of energy defined by food. If you eat more calories than your body uses, the extra calories are stored as fat and you gain weight. If your activity uses as many calories as you eat, you maintain your weight. To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you use. When you eat fewer calories, your body will get the energy it needs from stored fat and you will lose weight.

Your environment can also affect your weight. For example, you may decide not to walk in the park because there are no sidewalks or because the lighting is poor and you do not feel safe. It is important to find an environment that will encourage and increase physical activity. Make smart choices. Instead of sitting at home watching television, take an exercise class or learn to play a sport. There are many opportunities to prevent and decrease obesity in the community.

To learn more:

Causes and Consequences
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Learn how genetics, environment, and eating habits affect obesity.
Learn about some of the causes of obesity, including emotional reasons.

next » What major health problems might develop because of obesity?

Written by: Maya Hollinshead B.A.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey G. Schultze, M.D.
Last Modified: Friday April 02, 2010 12:44 PM