11 Surprising causes of weight gain

The factors that contribute to our country’s obesity and weight gain epidemic don’t stop at the refrigerator door or the restaurant menu. TreeHugger.com compiled this excellent list, which contains numerous waist-expanding phenomena you probably hadn’t thought of …

How you live, not only how you eat, is a significant contributor to weight gain - or loss.

How you live, not only how you eat, is a significant contributor to weight gain – or loss.

  1. Cul de Sacs: A study by Lawrence Frank of the University of British Columbia found that residents in neighborhoods with grids and interconnected streets traveled 26% fewer miles by car than those who lived in neighborhoods of cul-de-sacs.
  2. Cars: The less people walk, bike or use public transit, the more likely they are to be obese. If you don’t have a car, it’s also more difficult to load your fridge with tons of food.
  3. Where You Live: Certain states, such as
Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and
Tennessee have much higher rates of obesity
than others, like Colorado, Utah and Montana. Way of life, including physical activity and food trends, may partly explain why.
  4. Hard Times: When money is tight, people often turn to cheaper fast food options instead of wholesome foods.
  5. The Suburbs: People in the suburbs drive everywhere and far more than people in urban areas.
  6. Architecture: Public spaces often encourage inactivity and poor eating habits, and make it easier and more inviting to take the elevator instead of the stairs.
  7. Cheap Gas: Obesity rates climb when gas prices are stable or declining, according to a study by Charles Courtemanche of Washington University in St. Louis.
  8. Easy Access to Fast Food Restaurants: There is a direct correlation between a city’s obesity rate and the number of fast food restaurants per capita, according to a Canadian study.
  9. The Government: Government policy and farm subsidies make fast food cheaper than healthy food. A study by Drewnowski of the University of Washington revealed that you can buy 1200 calories of cookies or chips, but only 250 calories of carrots, with $1.
  10. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Endocrine disrupters in your food and environment can make you gain weight.
  11. McMansions: As average square footage of U.S. houses climbed, so did rates of obesity, according to Dean Johnson*.

*TreeHugger.com: Supersized Houses and People

© 2012 Health Realizations, Inc.