Risk Factors for Obesity
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop obesity with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of becoming obese. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for obesity include:
The following dietary habits can increase your risk of obesity:
Children may also be at risk for becoming obese if they do not eat their regular meals with their family.
Lack of Physical Activity
If you do not get enough physical activity you are likely to burn fewer calories than you eat each day, thus increasing your risk of becoming obese.
For children, too little exercise and spending too much time watching TV or playing on the computer can increase their risk of gaining weight and becoming obese.
Obesity may run in families. A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors are likely to a role in the child's excess weight.
In addition, rare hereditary diseases may increase the risk of obesity.
Medical Conditions and Medications
If you are a smoker and want to quit, you may worry that quitting will increase your weight. Keep in mind that you can overcome this weight gain by reducing how many calories you consume and by exercising more. Overall, the health benefits of quitting smoking far exceed the risk of gaining weight.
If you are pregnant, smoking may increase your child's risk of becoming obese.
Other Risk Factors
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Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 2/23/2017
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