Causes of Obesity

There are many causes of obesity and it is not always due to overeating. Research has shown that genetics may be a cause of morbid obesity. People may become obese by skipping meals or not eating. Others find they turn to starchy or sugary foods as a response to stress. Still others find that they crave certain foods, and there is no “willpower” strong enough to counter this urge. Medications and meal replacement options can help in these cases. 

Research shows that controlling excess weight is something people must work at their entire lives. There is no “cure” for obesity. If you are obese, the goal should be to reduce the excess weight so you can  prevent or reverse serious medical issues and be healthier.

Contributing Factors

Stress, certain medications, conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatigue syndromes, and the western diet are all contributing factors to obesity.

Genetic Factors

Studies have shown that genetics play a role in how easily a person gains weight. Obesity research has also found that, just as some genes determine eye color or height, others affect our:

  • Appetite
  • Ability to feel full or satisfied
  • Metabolism
  • Fat-storing ability
  • Natural activity levels

Environmental Factors

If your genetics make you more likely to gain weight, then environmental factors will make keeping your weight down even harder. Fast food, the typical American diet and a lack of exercise all make it easier to pack on the pounds.


Research has shown that weight gain or loss is not only a matter of calories eaten and then burned. People also have a "set point," in the brain that makes them resistant to either weight gain or loss. This “set point” can be changed with medication or eating more often, resulting in weight loss. Even with bariatric surgery, however, you can override the set point and regain the weight.

Eating Disorders & Medical Conditions

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for eating disorders. And there are medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, that can also cause weight gain. That's why it's important that you work with your doctor to make sure you do not have a condition that should be treated with medication and counseling.