Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents


The Causes of Obesity


        Losing weight safely requires an understanding of the causes of obesity. The following are a few key factors in the development of overweight.


Genetic factors


         Many genetic factors collectively determine body constitution. If one parent is obese, their children have a 40% chance of also becoming obese.  If both parents are obese, then the probability that their children will become obese rises to between 70 and 80%. However, obesity is a complex issue with many contributing factors and is typically not simply inherited through genes. Rather, it is common that children of obese parents inherit poor dietary habits.


Poor diet


         Eating habits and dietary quality hold major sway over the occurrence of obesity. An unbalanced diet containing too much fat, carbohydrates and sugar can lead to significant weight gain. Excessive intake of animal products, including animal fat, as well as frequently eating processed food and drinking beer can result in overweight.


Lack of exercise


          Regular physical activity is essential to long-term wellness and a trim physique. However, modern life is often sedentary: people drive more than they walk; much of the workforce spends the day seated at a desk; and even household chores have been greatly eased with the help of home appliances. It is common for many people to consume more calories than they burn, as reflected in the continuing rise in obesity rates.


Emotional eating


            Many people attempt to self-medicate with food, dealing with depression, anxiety, anger, and other negative emotional states by eating. The Chinese maxim “narrow mind with broad body” refers to emotional eating.  Negative feelings can cause dysfunction of the liver, spleen, kidneys, and other organs, impairing the body’s ability to digest and excrete excess fat. Emotional eating not only results in weight gain, but ultimately compounds the stress and psychological issues that prompted it in the first place.




             Many drugs cause weight gain as a side-effect. For example, drugs that treat schizophrenia and high blood pressure have an impact on the hypothalamus and therefore increase appetite. Long-term use can lead to obesity. In addition, estrogen-containing drugs (such as birth control pills) can stimulate appetite and fat retention.

             Drugs are also present in the food supply: large amounts of growth-promoting hormones are added to the fodder of farm animals, and even included in the planting process of the majority of fruits and vegetables. Long-term consumption of foods that contain hormones can play a role in obesity.



Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents