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   Teen Obesity
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   Cause of Childhood Obesity
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Women and Obesity

Weight gain in young mothers

Some girls who used to be slim prior to their marriage, gain weight gradually after marriage. This is due to the changed eating habits or eating rich food to which they might not be used to previously. Perhaps a more care­free and comfortable life is also to be blamed for this. This is acceptable to them as well as to their spouses now to consider their weight gain as a sign of good health until they become pregnant. Obesity right from the first month of pregnancy has its own disadvantages. The fatty tissues in the abdomen make the expanding uterus, as the months advance exert great pressure on the bladder and bowels, disturbing the function of these waste eleminating organs. Wrong conceptions about the needs of a pregnant woman and her unborn child are held by her mother, mother-in-law, husband, other well wishers and relatives. They are of the opinion that a pregnant woman should eat double the amount of food to feed herself and her child to be born and she should rest and relax more to preserve her energy for the time of labour. Nothing is near the truth, because the· correct way of sensible eating and mild exercises and activities till the last, facilitates a normal and comfortable delivery of a healthy child.

Post-natal obesity

While in some cases there is a reduction in weight after child birth, in others, the young mothers keep gaining weight and remain obese for the rest' of their lives. Generally, two reasons can be attributed for obesity after child birth. In most cases normal delivery of the child is either not preferred or is discouraged for certain reasons and ceasarean operation is either chosen or forced. This deprives the young mother of normal activities and exercises after delivery, resulting in the uterus not shrinking as it should, and gradually distention of abdomen takes place. The additional nourishment consumed undergoes poor digestion and the weight keeps increasing.

Some young mothers despite normal delivery gain weight steadily because they are fed on fatty and starchy food in place of proper nutritious food under the erroneous notion that the weakness caused by labour can only be compensated by a rich diet. Sometimes young mothers, after delivery, are also made to rest more than it is necessary. Just as exercise is a must till almost the last stages of delivery for easy delivery, mild exercise after delivery is necessary for the contraction of the uterus to its original size. But exercise becomes m0re difficult if there is a weight increase. Therefore, obesity worsens the condition.

Women who use contraceptive devices or oral contraceptives on a regular basis also tend to become obese. This is due to the effect of the hormones contained in those drugs.

Menopause and added bulk

Some women tend to gain weight during their menopause. Due to hormonal imbalance, obesity sets in, even though they had maintained normal weight previously. Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life. Some women seek medical solutions in the form of hormone supplement for their irregular monthly cycles, disturbing symptoms and mild discomforts. Obesity caused by hormone-pills is a bit difficult to get rid unlike other forms of obesity.

Influence of mind over body

Some women suffer from obesity for identifiable psychological reasons that manifest themselves as expressions of their under­lying unhappiness and for no other reason. Such persons feel unwanted at home and outside. They develop severe complexes, become discontented with every one around and become indifferent towards anything and everything. They lose interest in every activity which provide a pleasant diversion. In such cases, unless the underlying cause is attended to, they remain obese. Whenever they feel tense, overcome with unknown fears, they seek a diversion in frequent eating. This type of eating gives them only a false sense of their tension being eased. At such times due to the absence of actual hunger, they resort to eating snacks which please their palate. This naturally adds bulk to the body.

Influence of hormones on obesity

Endocrine glands are the organs which pour internal secretion into our blood. But for these glands, the growth of our body and mind becomes defective and results in various disorders and diseases, obesity being one of them. The glands produce some chemical substances which are called hormones. Hormone is a circulating chemical substance that is capable of acting on distant organs from its original site. The glands that function in a unique way, need a mention in this chapter because a few glands and their functions are responsible for causing obesity. These are the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, and gonads.

Hormones are the agents that stir up activity and bring about psychological changes in our behaviour and bodily functions. Abnormal conditions of our health, are the direct result of an excess or deficient secretion of these hormones.



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