weight: Is it really that complex?
losing weight anything more than simply using more calories than you expend by
physical activity and metabolism? In theory, losing weight is little more than
this simple equation, but in reality it is much more complex. This basic
equation of energy balance is true but is made up of several mechanisms
including metabolic, genetic, and environmental factors, which consider how your
body uses and stores energy. Also, controllable factors such as the amount of
food you eat as well as your psychological responses to the food, along as your
lack of exercise will have a direct effect on your weight control efforts.
Heredity, your intake of calories, level of physical activity and some specific
behavioral and psychological issues will have a significant effect on your
efforts at losing weight.
and losing weight:
Obviously, heredity will
have a significant effect on your efforts at losing weight. Heredity is known to
be a significant risk factor in whether you will become obese. Some studies
have found for example that if you are the child of two obese parents, your
chances of being obese are at about 80%, as compared with 14% for children born
to parents of normal weight. Also, studies using identical twins have also
found similar high rates of obesity due to inheritability.
however, research comparing the weights of adopted children to the weights of
their biological and adoptive parents, have identified that genetic factors are
responsible for only about 33% of the weight variance. This figure is believed
by experts to probably be more accurate. It is believed that heredity may
influence the number of fat cells (adipocytes) in the body, how much fat is
stored and where it is stored, as well as other aspects of metabolism.
Approximately 80% of children who are obese children also become obese adults.
However, only about 20% of obese adults were also obese children.
Your ability at losing
weight does not have to be predetermined by your heritability however. Your
predisposition to becoming overweight or obese can be overcome according to some
studies. One study of 485 pairs of female twins found that the amount of
physical activity appeared to be a significant factor in determining an
individual's body weight or ability at losing weight. Women that were
physically active, on the average had 9 pounds less body fat than their
Page 2 Weight control: Is it
really that complex?
From The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health After 50
Additional Information and
Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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