What Causes Obesity?

Obesity is a complex health issue to address. It results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors such as behaviour, hormonal imbalances, and genetics.

Behaviours can include dietary patterns, physical activity, inactivity, medication use, and other exposures. Additional contributing factors in our society include the food and physical activity environment, education and skills, and food marketing and promotion.

Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death in many countries worldwide.

Some statistics for us all to digest

In Australia, we are overweight. Alarmingly so, and getting worse.

In 2014-2015, a staggering 63% of Australian adults were overweight or obese. That’s well over half of our nation’s population and translates to almost two in three adults. This is an increase from 1995, which was 56%, illustrating that the problem is accelerating.

Sadly, we are not alone with these statistics.

Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. In addition, 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.

Today, more than 40% of the world’s adult population is overweight, and more than 10% are obese.

However, obesity is preventable and education is paramount if society wishes to turn this “fat speed train” around.