What Causes Obesity?

The causes of obesity are complex. Although many try to explain obesity as a result of “eating too much and exercising too little,” this is an unfair and oversimplified claim. The weight loss surgeons at New York Bariatric Group have dedicated their careers to treating obesity, and we know the truth is a difficult answer.

The fact is, obesity is caused by a great number of factors from epigenetics, to socioeconomics, and is affected by anything from psychology to metabolism. The causes of obesity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Genetics
  • How your body processes food
  • Your environment
  • Eating and exercise habits

Genetics

A critical component in obesity is genetics. This can be as straightforward as the ability to inherit genes from your parents that make you prone to gaining weight. It can also be as complex as epigenetics, which is a relatively new field of study for obesity researchers. Epigenetics means the way that your inherited genes actively express themselves. For example, some studies have linked environmental exposure early in life, to epigenetic changes. This means that two people with similar genes, could have those genes act in different ways based on environmental factors from their childhood. Other research has shown that fast-food may be more likely to cause obesity in some people, based on the way it affects their genetic make up. On the other hand, there is hope that future understanding of epigenetics may open the door for obesity treatments that take genes linked to obesity, and get them to behave in a way that causes less weight gain.

How You Process Food

As you’ve likely experienced, it is possible for 2 people to eat in very similar ways, but not gain the same amount of weight. Factors inside our bodies play a role in the way we process the food we eat. The way our bodies process food also accounts for some of the reasons it is so easy to regain the weight we lose.

It is believed that once our bodies see we are losing weight, the natural response is for our metabolism to slow down. The body is programmed to keep itself at the weight it is used to. This is often referred to as a “set point.” Even when we find weight loss success, our bodies seem to act against us, doing everything they can to hold onto the weight, or prevent us from maintaining weight loss. Bariatric surgery can combat some of these factors.

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Your Environment

There is a wide range of ways that the environment affects obesity. As we follow the latest obesity research, we regularly see studies that bring us new information about causes or risk factors for obesity. Environmental factors start before we are born. Our parents’ exposure to air pollution or certain environmental factors has been shown to influence the weight of their children. Additionally, studies have shown that watching television is a substantial risk factor for obesity.

The inescapable parts of our daily environments make losing weight an even more difficult struggle. Another important factor in our environment is the prevalence of fast food.

Many of the patients we see have packed days between work, kids, or other family obligations. Our environments make it particularly easy to choose foods that do not promote weight loss.

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Eating and Exercise Habits

Even though we cannot say that obesity is simply caused by how we eat and exercise, these lifestyle choices are at the core of any obesity treatment. You know how much you eat matters, but so do some less-often talked about factors like how slowly you eat, the balance of nutrients, and what time of day you eat. At New York Bariatric Group we have a team of experts in nutrition and lifestyle who will make sure you are educated and feel confident in making the necessary changes to complement your weight loss surgery or weight loss balloon.

Thomas

Lost 145lbs

Thomas' success story

I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man.

Everybody treated me like a king. The day of surgery, I was excited. The hospital couldn’t be any nicer. I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man. My recovery was awesome. I was out of bed that day. My wife and kids were my motivation on getting this surgery. They are my whole life. I’m happy I’m going to be around for them.

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Nicole

Lost 76lbs

Nicole's success story

I hit my goal weight ... and I feel fabulous

I had the gastric bypass. I am Type 2 Diabetic and I wanted to gain control of my sugar. I hit my goal weight in about 5 and half months and I feel fabulous. The procedure has completely changed my life for the better because it has empowered me as a middle aged woman that I can really do everything and anything that I want to do. I don't put an age on anything. I don't say I'm too old for something.

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Robert

Lost 76lbs

Robert's success story

I was tired of the way I looked. I was tired of the way I felt.

I knew if I didn't change something soon, I was going to be in a lot of trouble. The consultation process was a lot easier than I expected. I was met with open arms. I was treated like I was the only patient here. Not only did they answer all of my questions, they had questions for me to make sure I was the right candidate for the surgery. After surgery and that weight started dropping off, my life started changing for the better.

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Samantha

Lost 92lbs

Samantha's success story

I feel like a completely different person.

I had the gastric sleeve procedure. The driving factor behind me getting this procedure was my health. I didn't feel good physically or mentally. I had joint pains, even standing was difficult sometimes. Emotionally, this surgery completely turned my life around. I have so much more confidence. So much more happiness. I feel like a completely different person. I feel stronger. I feel able to accomplish more.

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Eileen

Lost 99lbs

Eileen's success story

It saved my life.

The driving factor behind me getting my procedure was that I couldn't get up off the floor with my granddaughter. That was my why. That was my big reason for having this surgery done. After surgery, it was a little bit of a struggle with what to eat. What you put in your mouth that you don't even think about. You don't think about what you're eating or how you're eating and portion size. It's what I do now every single day. The procedure has changed my life in so many ways. It saved my life.

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Brittany

Lost 126lbs

Brittany's success story

I am totally comfortable in my own skin.

I think I always grew up identifying myself as less than other people because I was fat. I decided to tackle that and just live my life. I had a sleeve gastrectomy. It changed how I view myself. How I communicate with people. I'm able to be much more of myself and live the life I always thought I should have been living. I am totally comfortable in my own skin. You have the tools you need to succeed here.

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Desiree

Lost 157lbs

Desiree's success story

I have a brand new life. I can do things I couldn't do before.

I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy because I had just become diabetic, and I had hypertension for many years. I lost a total of 157 pounds in 11 months. I have a brand new life. I can do things I couldn't do before. Everyone at New York Bariatric Group has been wonderful. They are kind. They are understanding. They make you feel comfortable. They will guide you every step of the way on your journey so that you can be successful.

Listen to Desiree’s testimonial
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Note: A BMI of 30 – 34.9 or BMI 35 – 39.9 with no comorbidities qualify for lap band but is usually not covered by insurance.

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