Obesity has always existed in human populations but was more rare than common until energy rich, processed foods became more available. There are so many contributing factors to weight gain, but here is a list of the primary ones.
It is clear that having obese relatives in your family increases your risk for obesity. The genetic predisposition to excess weight is increased by high calorie, easily available, processed foods. This creates a population that is more sensitive to carbohydrates, which store more easily as fat. Science shows that genetics do play a role in obesity.
It is true that food has never, in the history of man, been so readily available to the masses. Add to that a myriad of fast food options, easy food preparation, larger portions and an un-ending selection of snacks; it is easier than ever to get food. The ease, at which we have access to snacks and prepared foods high in calorie, is a big contributing factor to the obese epidemic in our country.
An Imbalance of Energy
Energy is another word for “calories” and one that will make better sense as we look at the imbalance and how it relates to our weight. Energy balance is the balance of calories consumed through eating and drinking compared to calories burned through physical activity.
What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN.
What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT.
In order to maintain a steady, healthy weight, the energy in and the energy out should be equal to each other.
How many calories you need each day, ENERGY IN, depends on a few things:
- Your age
- Your gender
- How active you are
The following information is divided by age and activity to give you an idea of how many calories you need to consume each day.
- Not Active – Not much ENERGY OUT. Does only light activity needed for daily life. For instance, cooking or walking to the mailbox.
- Somewhat Active – Some ENERGY OUT. Does physical activity equal to walking quickly for 1 ½ to 3miles (about 30–40 minutes) each day. Plus, does light activity needed for daily life.
- Very Active – A lot of ENERGY OUT. Does physical activity equal to walking quickly for more than 3 miles each day (more than 40 minutes). Plus, does light activity needed for daily life.