One of the alarming health problems in children across several developing and developed countries is obesity. Recent research has proven that genes play a very little role in determining obesity. The cause behind the new age obesity epidemic is mainly environmental but a person's behaviour also plays a vital role in making a person obese.
When people eat more food than they require, their body stores the extra food in the form of fat cells. When they do no utilise those fat cells, more fat cells accumulate and ultimately they become obese.
A person's mental health is a major factor in deciding obesity. Psychological disorders like anxiety, stress and depression can lead to eating disorders which ultimately lead to obesity if remains unchecked. People tend to eat compulsively particularly when they are sad.
These people have limited control over their eating behaviours and have difficulty in exercising the adequate amount. The resulting weight gain may trigger more depression and stress leading to a continuous cycle to use food to cope with their emotion. Obese people are also at the receiving end of social stigma and ridicule.
People generally tend to see obese people as unmotivated or weak willed and obese people are often aware of these negative views. This leads to low self-esteem which often leads to stress eating. Moreover, failed attempts to lose weight can also be a burden on these individuals. Their failed attempts result in discouragement, frustration, hopelessness, and learned helplessness about the prospect of losing weight in the future on their own.
In addition to this, irregular eating behaviour is found to be another cause for the obesity epidemic. Binge eating and mindless eating are the two most factors pointed out by most researches.
Mindless eating means snacking on high calorie foods, tendency to overeat (sometimes pressurised by their parents) and eating at irregular intervals. Due to the sedentary lifestyle of our children and youth, these types of eating disorder are a predisposition for obesity.
Many behavioural and physiological treatments are there to counter the effects of obesity. Instead of crash dieting and bulimic surgeries, we need to tackle the psychological aspect of obesity to have any hope of ending this modern epidemic.