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Overweight Symptom
Some people are overweight their entire lives, while others gradually gain weight as they age.  It is easy to know that you have gained weight.  Current clothes are tight and new ones have to be bigger.  Other symptoms include developing extra fat around the waist, having a higher than normal Body Mass Index, and of course the scale showing a weight gain.   

For many people overweight and obesity are caused by an energy imbalance.  If the body takes in the same amount of energy as it uses, weight stays stable.  If the body takes in fewer calories than it uses for its activity, weight loss occurs.  If the body takes in more calories than it uses, weight gain occurs.  This process takes time. 

Another cause of obesity is physical inactivity.  Many people spend too much time in front of televisions, computers, or video games and not enough time participating in exercise.  People drive cars, rather than walking.  Work does not require physical activity, in large part because of modern technology.  Many schools do not have physical education classes.  Inactive people are more likely to gain weight and develop various health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer. 

Our modern environment does not encourage healthy lifestyles.  Most neighborhoods do not have sidewalks, parks, trails, or playgrounds.  Work schedules do not allow time for exercise.  Large food portions have become the norm in restaurants, fast food places, movie theaters, and supermarkets.  Advertising promotes eating.  Children and adults are advertising targets for high-calorie, high-fat snacks and drinks.

Genetics strongly influence a person’s weight.  If parents are overweight, the children are likely to be also.  Families share food and physical activity, and an environment where food is of paramount importance will result in weight gain.  Children will follow the lead of their parents.  If a family eats healthy food and exercises, the chances of a child becoming overweight are reduced. 

In some rare cases, hormone problems cause obesity.  An underactive thyroid will slow metabolism and cause weight gain, tiredness, and weakness.  Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the body makes too much cortisol.  People with Cushing’s syndrome gain weight in the upper part of their body, but are likely to have thin arms and legs.  Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects a few women between the ages of 20 and 50.  These women gain weight, have excess hair growth, and other reproductive problems.

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