Sample Nursing Paper on What Causes Obesity?

Obesity is becoming an increasing health concern in developed countries, especially in the United States. Findings by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate that the fitness condition affected 39.8% of adults and 18.5% of youths between 2015 and 2016. Gone are the days when an exaggerated body girth was the only problem with being obese. Today, obesity is considered a serious chronic disease that can lead to stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Insight into the curative and preventative measures for the condition exposes lifestyle as the primary causative factor. Further research reveals food intake, bodily activity, stress and emotions, genetics, medication, and the environment as the primary factors causing obesity.

When people eat more than their body can burn through metabolism, they gain weight. According to Martinez (2000), obesity is the result of ingesting “more fuel (i.e., food) than an individual expends” (p. 173). Excess calories can come from overeating, especially fast foods, and high-calorie drinks. When the calorie-intake exceeds the energy output, the body’s tissues store the excess calories in the form of fats. A person who fails to burn the excess fats through physical activity increases their BMI (body mass index) and is at the risk of becoming obese. Experts advise eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole foods, and reducing their intake of sweetened foodstuffs. Physical exercise also helps to burn the excess fats stored in the body.

Genetic changes occur slowly over time and may have little impact on the prevalence of obesity. Even so, specialists claim that genes play a role in how people respond to their environment in terms of food intake and physical activity. Genes are responsible for instructing the body on how to react to external stimuli. Studies suggest that certain genetic variants may promote an increased hunger for food and unnecessary calories (Ells, Demaio & Farpour-Lambert, 2018). Besides genes, some hormonal illnesses play a role in gaining weight. For example, the underactive thyroid, Cushing’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome increase a person’s susceptibility to becoming obese. Certain medicines such as steroids, antidepressants, and seizure medication may also lead to weight gain. When using such drugs, it is advisable to compensate for the weight gain through proper dieting and increased physical activity.

Stress and lack of sleep may increase a person’s chances of becoming obese. During stressful episodes, the body craves high-calorie foods and carbonated drinks that lead to weight gain. A person who is often stressed is, therefore, at a higher risk of becoming obese. Similarly, when a person is not getting enough sleep, they tend to have a higher appetite, especially for carbohydrates. When one is asleep, the body releases certain hormones responsible for regulating appetite and the body’s use of energy (Hanlon, Dumin & Pannain, 2019). Emotional factors also contribute to becoming obese. Often, feelings such as boredom, anger, or anxiety contribute to eating more food than is necessary. A person experiencing emotional instability may find it hard to fix a healthy meal but will find it easy to order fast food.

Controlling obesity is becoming a primary healthcare concern. Although it is considered to run in the family, poor lifestyle choices have increased the obesity tally. Eating habits affect the amount of calorie intake, while physical activity affects energy output. Genetic factors also determine the distribution of fat in the body and how the fat is burnt to release energy. Emotional fluctuations, hormonal imbalances, and certain medicines can also contribute to undesired weight gain. As a control measure, patients should avoid over-processed foods and opt for whole foods. Frequent physical exercise also helps in burning any excess calories stored as fat. Anyone who shows a sign of weight gain should seek immediate treatment to prevent their chances of becoming obese.



Ells, L. J., Demaio, A., & Farpour-Lambert, N. (2018). Diet, genes, and obesity.

Hanlon, E. C., Dumin, M., & Pannain, S. (2019). Sleep and obesity in children and adolescents. In Global Perspectives on Childhood Obesity (pp. 147-178). Academic Press.

Martinez, J. A. (2000). Body-weight regulation: causes of obesity. Proceedings of the nutrition society59(3), 337-345.