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There are many issues involving weight gain, including environmental, biological and behavioural factors, many of which are complex and interrelated, some of which are not fully understood. The simple reason why we are all getting fatter is that we are eating far more calorie dense foods than ever before and are much less active.

Genetics.

We are all born with a specific body type or “somatotype”.

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Ectomorph

Long bones, slim, little body fat, low potential for muscle growth.

Mesomorph

Heavy bones, broad hands, broad chest, triangular shape.

Endomorph

Small bones, short limbs, wide hips, generally “round” gain weight easily.

It is true that everyone is dealt a genetic hand of cards at birth. Studies of twins have demonstrated that even when separated and living in different environments, people will tend to retain the parental genetic shape, and are often inclined to put on weight alongside lean non-related siblings.

Often this can lead to resentment in overweight families at what they see as an unfair burden that they must carry through life. People will often use their perceived “bad hand” to abrogate their responsibility to make the right lifestyle choices, making things get progressively worse. It is essential to remember, that although we all start life with a set hand of cards, ultimately it is how we play those cards that really matters – no one has to be overweight.

It’s mainly environmental

The overwhelming scientific evidence that is now backed by almost all governments and health authorities, is that the major reason for the epidemic of obesity facing the western world, is a diet far too high in energy dense foods (fat and sugar) combined with a marked reduction in activity levels. This is demonstrated by the simple equation:

Calorie intake – calorie expenditure = calorie deficit/surplus

Although this equation is too simplistic to provide all the answers to successful weight management, it remains the foundation of maintaining a healthy body weight.