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   Teen Obesity
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   Cause of Childhood Obesity
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What Causes Overeating?

Among the glands, the pituitary is the master gland that governs all other glands. It somewhat hangs from the hypothalamus which is, at the base of the brain. It monitors the activities of the other glands to produce exactly the correct amount of their respective hormones.

Hypothalamus are a group of neurons that act as the centre for appetite, the stimulation of which results in the sensation of hunger. If there is an abnormal function of this appetite centre in the hypothalamus, obesity is caused due to overeating.

Obesity also results if the hormones that the pituitary gland secretes, are deficient. One notable feature of this deficiency is, along with causing obesity the height of the person gets retarded, particularly in the case of growing children. Girls stay short and stout and the onset of menses is delayed or absent for a very long period. In cases where this gland is overactive and secretes hormones in excess of what it should, the person grows to an abnormal size. This is known as gigantism.

The second gland that contributes to obesity, is the thyroid. This is situated in the neck. A deficiency in the hormones secreted by this gland results in the speedy division of cells. Such an increase in the number of cells causes obesity.

The third gland is the adrenals. These are two in number and are situated above the kidneys. The hormones that these glands

secrete, control our emotions - anger, fear, etc. Excess secretion of these hormones, or when these hormones are administered in massive doses cause a severe disorder known as CUSHING'S SYNDROME. This is also known by the name Moon face. Any tumour or inflammation in this gland also causes Cushing's syndrome. The person so afflicted, bloats to abnormal proportions and becomes the victim of various other disorders too, like hypertension and diabetes.

The pancreas is a very important digestive organ that secretes the digestive pancreatic juice and an essential endocrine hormone­the insulin. Insulin is very essential in sugar metabolism. The stored fat from the refined carbohydrate and sugar due to the abnormal sugar metabolism result in obesity.

In some cases, if the sex hormones secreted by the ovaries in females, are deficient during menopause, obesity results. Ad­ministering hormones further add to the bulk. So is the case after hysterectomy in some women.

Food addiction and obesity

Addictions are of many types. All of us are addicted to some things without even knowing why and how we are addicted. Generally tobacco, alcohol, drugs like opium and heroin are thought to be the things which a person gets addicted to. But most of us are unaware of an equally serious addiction, that is addiction to food.

Different people are addicted to some food items. Some are addicted to carbohydrates in the form of rice or even wheat, some to spicy food, some to sweets, some to fast food and other commercial food. There are persons who get addicted even to bread and milk. Individually these food as an addiction, i.e. addiction to anyone of these, may be harmless without visible discomfort. If abstained from, or lesser quantity of the particular type of food is taken, one may feel some sort of all-gone sensation in the stomach or suffer other withdrawal symptoms. But once they are introduced again, the withdrawals may disappear. As in any other addiction, the more one eats, the more the food is relished. The craving for eating keeps increasing day-by­day.

Withdrawals and the fear of it

Addiction to overeating is a serious problem, because it causes obesity. Overeating unwittingly begins at a very young age when it can be easily controlled or got rid of. But on being ignored or even encouraged, it reaches a stage when withdrawing or controlling it becomes extremely difficult. We often see persons overeating the type of food they are fond of. Addiction to isolated food items can be considered quite harmless compared to addiction to overeating. But if that isolated food happens to contain more calories than the body needs, addiction' to that particular type of food will definitely be difficult to control. In case that particular food is not available, something else will be sought which gives the satisfaction of eating the missing one. In some cases there are no such cravings for high calorie food like sweets and other processed food. A person simply eats anything that is available till his stomach is uncomfortably full. Less quantity of food makes the individual restless until he eats again after a few minutes' interval.

The underlying cause for such overeating lies basically with the abnormal functions of the endocrine glands and the amount of hormones they produce. Availability of food in abundance is another reason why addiction to overeating is difficult to handle.



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