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Obesity is a complex health issue resulting from a combination of causes and individual factors such as behavior and genetics. Behaviors can include physical activity, inactivity, dietary patterns, medication use, and other exposures. Additional contributing factors include the food and physical activity environment, education and skills, and food marketing and promotion.

Obesity is serious because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life. Obesity is also associated with the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. One of the often-overlooked consequences for an overweight individual is the effort required to walk up and down stairways, limiting one’s ability to access favorite or necessary rooms in their home. Power Stair Lifts can equip your home or business with the right stair lifts.

Savaria K2 stairlift in a home

Savaria K2 stairlift in a home


Healthy behaviors include regular physical activity and healthy eating. Balancing the number of calories consumed from foods and beverages with the number of calories the body uses for activity plays a role in preventing excess weight gain. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansexternal icon recommends adults do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. In addition, adults need to do activities that strengthen muscles at least 2 days a week.

A healthy diet pattern follows the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which emphasizes eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and drinking water.

A pattern of healthy eating and regular physical activity is also important for long-term health benefits and prevention of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Community Environment

People and families may make decisions based on their environment or community. For example, a person may not walk or bike to the store or to work because of a lack of sidewalks or safe bike trails. Community, home, childcare, school, health care, and workplace settings can all influence daily behaviors. Therefore, it is important to create environments that make it easier to engage in physical activity and eat healthy foods.

Do Genes Have a Role in Obesity?

Genetic changes in human populations occur too slowly to be responsible for the obesity epidemic. Nevertheless, how people respond to an environment that promotes physical inactivity and intake of high-calorie foods suggests that genes do play a role in developing obesity.

How Could Genes Influence Obesity?

Genes give the body instructions for responding to changes in its environment. Variants in several genes may contribute to obesity by increasing hunger and food intake.

Rarely, a clear pattern of inherited obesity within a family is caused by a specific variant of a single gene (monogenic obesity). Most obesity, however, probably results from complex interactions among multiple genes and environmental factors that remain poorly understood (multifactorial obesity).

What About Family History?

Health care practitioners routinely collect family health history to help identify people at high risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some forms of cancer. Family health history reflects the effects of shared genetics and environment among close relatives. Families cannot change their genes, but they can encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity. Those changes can improve the health of family members — and improve the health history of the next generation.

Other Factors: Diseases and Drugs

Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain. Research continues on the role of other factors in energy balance and weight gain, such as chemical exposures and the role of the microbiome.

A health care provider can help you learn more about your health habits and history to identify whether behaviors, illnesses, medications, and/or psychological factors are contributing to weight gain or making weight loss hard.

Health Consequences

People who have obesity, compared to those with a healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • all-causes of death (mortality)
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • gallbladder disease
  • osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • many types of cancers
  • low quality of life
  • mental illness, such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

The Power Stair Lifts expert technology team proudly and dependably installs and services bariatric stairlift systems. We are experienced in matching clients’ needs with the best products, and we ensure proper installation, comfort, and familiarity with users and their families.

For helpful tips to help you make the right decisions, please read the following articles.

If you believe you or a loved one needs a reliable custom stairlift for large individuals, please call Power Stair Lifts for a free in-home assessment. We will recommend the best fit for the individual and the home’s available space and structure.

Please be sure to visit these other helpful resources:

Lifestyles over 50 — Expert senior content, resources, and care

Power Stair Lifts is a member of Lehigh Valley Aging in Place, a resource helping families help seniors since 2005.

Grab Bar Pros — Safety solutions for bathrooms, entrances, and stairs

Adapted from the CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html

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