We know that consuming too many calories and not exercising can contribute to weight gain, but there are also some surprising architectural and environmental reasons you may be packing on the pounds.
"Here are some waist-expanding phenomena you may never have thought could affect us," Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., R.N. tells Newsmax. "This excellent list compiled by TreeHugger.com is an eye opener."
- Cars. The less people walk, bike, or use public transit the more likely they are to be obese. Also, doing your food shopping by car tends to encourage buying in bulk than if you had to carry your bags home.
- Your location. States such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee have much higher rates of obesity than others like Colorado and Utah due to diverse lifestyles.
- Living in the suburbs. Folks who live away from urban areas tend to drive everywhere instead of walking.
- Cheap gas. When gas prices plummet, obesity rates rise, according to research by Charles Courtemanche of Washington University in St. Louis.
- Easy access to fast food restaurants. A Canadian study revealed that there is a direct correlation between a city's obesity rates and the number of fast food eateries per capita.
- Endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Bruce Blumberg of the University of California, Irvine says chemicals like the fungicide Tributyltin can disrupt fat-cell activity and may indeed increase the number of fat cells in the body.
- McMansions. Researcher Dean Johnson plotted the amount of square feet in homes and the increase in obesity in the U.S. and found a direct correlation between the two.
- Architecture. Public spaces like shopping malls encourage inactivity and poor eating habits. Tim Townsend, a former city planner, suggests making spaces where climbing stairs is encouraged rather than taking elevators.
- Tight economy. When money is scarce, people tend to stock up on cheap, overly processed foods instead of buying quality foodstuff and organic goods.