Objective: The purpose of this commentary is to discuss modern lifestyle factors that promote weight gain and to suggest methods for clinicians to more effectively educate patients about weight management.
Discussion: Most adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Multiple factors related to the modern lifestyle appear to play causal roles. In general, the population maintains sedentary lives and overconsumes calorie-dense foods. In particular, refined carbohydrates negatively impact metabolism and stimulate neural addiction mechanisms, which facilitate weight gain. As adipose tissue mass accumulates, satiation centers in the hypothalamus become resistant to insulin and leptin, which leads to increased caloric consumption. Several behavior issues further augment weight gain, such as eating too quickly, a lack of sleep, high stress levels, and a lack of exercise. Finally, adipose tissue accumulation alters the body weight set point, which leads to metabolic changes that function to resist weight loss efforts. Each of these factors may work together to augment weight gain and promote obesity. Health care providers, such as chiropractic physicians, who educate patients on wellness, prevention, and lifestyle changes are well positioned to address these issues.
Conclusion: People need to be educated about the modern lifestyle factors that prevent effective weight management. Without this knowledge and the associated practical application of lifestyle choices that prevent weight gain, becoming overweight or obese appears to be an unavoidable consequence of living a modern lifestyle.
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