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Obesity Risk Factors

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There are many risk factors that may increase the liklihood that a person will become obese.

Obesity risk factors include genetics, family history, age, smoking status, social and economic issues, and excessive weight gain in pregnancy.

Having some obesity risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will become obese but rather that the person is at an increased risk for becoming obese.

In terms of genetic obesity risk factors, there have been genes identified that alter how efficiently a person can metabolize food as well as how he or she generates fat tissue and where it is deposited on the body. Having the "obesity gene" is only one contributing factor to the development of obesity and can be overcome with proper diet and exercise.

Having family members that are obese is also an obesity risk factor. This influence is separate from genetics. People in the same family often have similar lifestyle, eating, and activity level habits.

Ageing is also an obesity risk factor. As people age they experience hormonal changes that affect the composition of the body. Older individuals have less muscle mass than their younger counterparts and this means that their metabolism slows and that they require less calories per day. If calorie intake is not decreased with age, the risk for gaining weight increases.

Quitting smoking is another obesity risk factor. Many people gain weight during this process.

Social and economic issues that affect access to safe areas to exercise or the financial ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables can also be obesity risk factors.

Finally, excessive weight gain with pregnancy is another obesity risk factor.

Although many obesity risk factors exist, they can all be overcome with proper diet and exercise. Having obesity risk factors does not mean that a person is destined to be overweight or obese.