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Obesity: A manageable disease with many causes

Losing weight and keeping it off is often seen as a simple question of “energy in and energy out” – how much you eat and how much you move. But science has proven that obesity has many causes, some of which are beyond the awareness or control of the person living with obesity.

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Much more than in-and-out

The popular narrative implies that if only we ate the right food and exercised in the right way, we would not carry excess weight. While this mechanism of energy in and energy out is true, it’s a dramatic simplification – and hurtful to those affected by obesity. Losing weight does depend on the balance between how much energy we eat, and how much energy we use. But the causes of the energy imbalance are complex and vary from person to person.

Instead, leading scientists agree that people who struggle with excess weight might in fact be living with obesity, which is a chronic disease.

Just like many other chronic diseases, obesity develops over a period of time. There are many reasons for this, some of which are beyond our conscious awareness or control. Our psychology, genetics, hormones, stress levels, the quantity and quality of our sleep, the medications we take and the environment we live in, can all play a role.

To effectively manage obesity, the first step is to identify which causes are playing a role – these causes will vary from person to person – and how some of the roadblocks can be addressed.

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