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What is Exogenous Obesity?

Exogenous obesity is a condition where excess body fat accumulates due to external factors, primarily excessive caloric intake. It contrasts with endogenous obesity, which is caused by hormonal or genetic issues. Lifestyle choices, such as diet and physical activity, play a significant role. Curious about how daily habits influence weight gain? Discover the impact of your choices on exogenous obesity.
T. Alaine
T. Alaine

Exogenous obesity is a condition in which a person is overweight as a result of an excessive intake of food. If a person habitually consumes more food than he or she is able to use for the daily energy needs of his or her body, the body stores any extra energy as fat, which can lead to obesity. This particular type of obesity is caused by individual actions, not by malfunctions of bodily systems.

Understanding exogenous obesity is easier if there is an understanding of how the body processes the energy, or calories, it takes in. A certain number of calories is needed for the body to perform basic involuntary functions, such as breathing and digestion. More calories are needed to perform activities such as routine movement, and even more are needed for the body to perform well in stressful situations, such as intense exercise. If an individual is eating roughly the same number of calories that his or her body burns on a daily basis, he or she will not gain weight. Unfortunately, if an individual is regularly eating more calories than his or her body can use, weight gain is generally inevitable.

People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.
People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.

Overeating is the cause of exogenous obesity, but there are many possible causes of overeating. In cases of exogenous obesity, overeating is typically not the result of hunger. Situational and psychological factors are often responsible for an excess intake of calories.

Situational overeating can occur in a variety of scenarios. One example is mindlessly munching on junk food while watching television or at the movies. Chances are good that no one sits down to a giant tub of buttered popcorn if they just need a snack, but at the movies it is a tradition, and therefore seems excusable. Similarly, cocktail parties or dinners out with friends can lead to situational overeating. Finger foods fill gaps in conversation and give guests a way to occupy their hands, and casual dinners at home do not usually include a bread basket, appetizer, high-calorie entrée, drinks and dessert.

Cutting out junk food, like pizza, may help a person lose weight.
Cutting out junk food, like pizza, may help a person lose weight.

Psychological factors also contribute to exogenous obesity. It is all too common for people to eat out of boredom, stress, or loneliness. Eating to fill a void causes ignorance of bodily cues that indicate fullness, and can lead to a drastic increase in calories consumed. Overeating to cope with stress at work together with feeling too busy to exercise can be a lethal combination.

Eating too much food -- especially junk food -- can cause obesity.
Eating too much food -- especially junk food -- can cause obesity.

Left unchecked, exogenous obesity can cause a host of health problems. Excess weight puts stress on bones and joints, can lead to the development of diabetes and heart disease, and increases the risk of certain cancers. Fortunately, since exogenous obesity is caused by personal actions, it is possible to reverse the condition, though many people seriously struggle to alter their lifestyle choices.

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    • People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.
      By: Gena
      People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.
    • Cutting out junk food, like pizza, may help a person lose weight.
      By: Kayros Studio
      Cutting out junk food, like pizza, may help a person lose weight.
    • Eating too much food -- especially junk food -- can cause obesity.
      By: Justaman
      Eating too much food -- especially junk food -- can cause obesity.
    • Obesity may increase risk of heart attack.
      By: sunabesyou
      Obesity may increase risk of heart attack.
    • Some people eat due to feelings of boredom, stress or loneliness.
      By: Boris Bulychev
      Some people eat due to feelings of boredom, stress or loneliness.