Diet and exercise are critical to maintaining a healthy weight. However, many people eat mindfully and exercise daily, yet they still struggle to achieve their weight loss goal. What other components of an individual’s habits or background could affect their weight loss? Read below for some of the factors that affect weight loss that you may not have considered before.
A 2013 study by Johns Hopkins University suggests a link between declining sleep duration and an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The same study also reports a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity. OSA appears to be linked to impaired glucose tolerance, indicating a problem with the endocrine system. The study recommends that the quality and quantity of sleep be part of the assessment when patients visit their endocrinology clinic.
Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic connection. You have a greater likelihood of developing obesity if your parents are obese.
Living in an area with ample availability of fresh foods and outdoor recreation opportunities affects diet and physical activity. Where you work also contributes to your weight: if your workplace consistently confronts you with vending machines full of sugary sodas, chips, and candy, maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge. Cultural factors, such as the types of food consumed at family gatherings or how sedentary or active a family’s habits are, also affect a person’s ability to lose weight.
Age, Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
Some racial or ethnic groups simply have higher incidences of obesity. Many people begin to gain weight as they age. Men and women tend to store fat in different parts of the body as well: women tend to carrying extra weight in the hips and backside, whereas men typically develop belly fat.
Metabolic Rate and Response to Calorie Reduction
Lean muscle tissue contributes to a higher overall resting metabolic rate. People with higher fat percentage in their body composition burn fewer calories at rest. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, which contributes to a lower metabolic rate. Moreover, drastic reduction in calorie consumption can trigger the body to conserve energy by slowing metabolism—the opposite of what a person pursuing weight loss hopes to accomplish.
Reliable sources suggest that in addition to diet and exercise, serious pursuit of a healthy weight should include a visit to your endocrinologist, a sleep assessment, and attention to social and cultural factors that affect weight loss.