To What Extent Can Obesity Be Explained By Biological Factors

Essay by researchers February 2007

download word file, 11 pages 4.3 1 reviews

Downloaded 125 times


Obesity is a globally escalating health problem. The following report concentrates on what biological factors are related to obesity and how can it be overcome.


Obesity is an increasing problem that contributes to ill health (National Audit Office, 2001). It has been defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (WHO, 1998) as an excessive accumulation of fat (lipids) in the adipose tissue of the body. This paper addresses the various relations of obesity with biological factors.

Obesity and Biological Factors

Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in Western cultures. It has been associated with such maladies as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. In the United States, fully one-third of the population struggles with obesity--defined as an excess of 20 percent over the ideal body weight for a given height. Those who suffer from obesity fight back with limited success, trying everything from appetite suppressants and starvation diets to exercise regimens and other weight-loss programs.

As a whole, the overweight population spends over $30 billion a year trying to shed those unwanted and unhealthy pounds (Andrews, 1996).

Obesity is a complex physical condition, and its direct causes are still not well understood. A variety of factors may be involved, including behavioural and life-style factors such as diet, exercise, and even psychological health. But because of the complexity of factors influencing body weight, researchers have found it difficult to pinpoint biological factors that may be directly responsible.

Obesity, like hypertension and hyperglycaemia with which it is associated, is a risk factor for disease (Royal College of Physicians, 1983, 5-65) and is increasingly encountered in developing as well as developed countries (World Health Organisation, 1990; 29-31). The increase in overweight in the past 20 years and the association with low socioeconomic status (Sobal and...