Obesity on Family: Causes and Effects

Effects of  Obesity a Family


The term obesity refers to a condition where excess fat accumulates in the human body. The accumulation of fat occurs as a consequence of the consumption of large amounts of food without indulging in regular physical activity, leading to negative effects on the health of the individual(Letra, 2017). As such, obesity is a medical condition; medical practitioners determine if a person is obese or not by their body mass index (BMI). BMI refers to a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height. BMI above 30 kg/m2 qualifies the medical rationale for obesity.

Causes of obesity

The weight of a person is determined by the balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure. If a person eats more calories than he metabolizes, he gains weight. The excess calories are stored in the body in the form of fat(Goran, 2017). Also, the body weight of a person is also dependent on genetics, metabolism, environment, behavior, and culture.

Genetics: these refer to inherited conditions and characteristics; like many other medical conditions obesity may be inherited from parents. However, the actualization of this form of obesity is dependent on an interplay between genetics and environmental factors. Regarding genetics; polymorphisms responsible for controlling appetite and metabolism may predispose an individual to obesity.

As such, a person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affect hormones responsible for fat regulation; the leptin hormone produced in fat cells is responsible for controlling weight by notifying the brain to eat less when the body fat store is high. Due to hormonal imbalance, the leptin hormone may be inhibited from fulfilling its mandate.

Diet; overeating is a major cause of weight gain which then translates to obesity, consumption of fatty foods or foods high in sugar contributes to gaining weight. Additionally, the consumption of foods high in simple carbohydrates increase the chances of developing obesity(Cadieux, 2017). Carbohydrates stimulate the increase in blood sugar levels which in turn stimulates the release of insulin by the pancreas, in turn high insulin levels encourage the growth of fat tissue hence weight gain. Carbohydrates are a major contributor to weight gain because of their nature of rapid absorption into the bloodstream.

Physical inactivity: the consumption of food translates to the generation of energy by the body, this energy should be burnt by engaging in physical activity. As such, sedentary people burn fewer calories as compared to the calories consumed. Consequently, the unburnt calories are stored in the body as fat leading to weight gain.

Medications; almost all medications have a side effect on the body. In this case, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and some medicines used to treat diabetes may foster the development of obesity.

Psychological factors; people react differently to different emotions, these emotions influence our habits including eating habits. Some people tend to eat excessively as a response to boredom, or stress.

Finances;  people who lack enough finances to buy healthy foods risk developing the condition of obesity because of eating junk foods. Society has it that access to fresh and healthy foods is reserved for the rich and affluent in society(Alston, 2017).

Effects of Obesity

The effects of obesity go beyond cosmetic consideration; this is because obesity takes a serious toll on the health of an individual and can easily lead to death. In fact, due to the high prevalence of obesity in the United States, statistics indicate that approximately 112,000 people die annually due to obesity-related diseases. Most of these diseases are chronic, meaning that once that line has been crossed there is no going back. These diseases include;

Insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

Effects of obesity on A family

The effects of obesity are not limited to the obese individual; they extend to family, society and the economy.

Family is defined to mean a basic social unit, composed of a father, mother, and children. Members of a family are interdependent; parents are responsible for providing for their children. Implementing this mandate requires attention, money and time. In this case, if one or many family members are obese, they impede on the interdependence of the family in many ways.

The first and major impediment is medical bills accrued from treating obesity-related diseases. Diseases are considered unforeseen circumstances that affect the budget of a family.This also applies to families that have medical insurance because insurance companies demand higher premiums from people who are obese because of the high likelihood of developing chronic conditions. As such, money that would otherwise be spent in other worthwhile investments is spent treating a condition that is avoidable.

Regarding cosmetic consideration, obesity attracts psychological stigmatization because obese individuals find themselves unattractive and they are never comfortable in their own skin. The effect of this stigmatization affects the confidence levels of an individual. Due to this depression, many individuals lack the motivation to pursue their dreams and ambitions, thereby condemning themselves to live in a sorry state. This kind of individuals affects the growth and development of the family in the sense that their parent’s investment in their education is wasted. These individuals continue to be dependent on their parents as opposed to being resourceful.

Obesity is also a major contributor to social stigmatization. Social stigmatization extends to obese people being disadvantaged when seeking employment. The justification for this disadvantage is obese people have higher rates of absenteeism and take more disability leave as compared to people with normal weight. As a result of the risk of decreased productivity, employers tend to forego hiring competent obese individuals because their absence triggers increased costs which take a toll on the company’s profitability. The effect of this stigmatization on the family is that the resourcefulness of obese individuals is limited, and so is their chance to grow their careers. These limitations impact the finances of the family negatively.


Obesity is a very serious condition; its effects have a trickle-down effect not only on the individual but also on their families and by extension on society and the economy through the funds channeled by the government in offering subsidies for obesity-related diseases.

There is a need for society to take a minute and consider the harmful effects of obesity on all spheres of life, more so, society needs to appreciate the fact that obesity can be avoided by proper dieting and regular physical exercise.  Condemning the obese to social stigmatization does not address the problem, in fact it aggravates the situation. Instead society should encourage them to lose weight and abide to a higher standard of dieting and discipline.

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