A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop obesity with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of becoming obese. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for obesity include:
The following dietary habits can increase your risk of obesity:
Children may also be at risk for becoming obese if they do not eat their regular meals with their family.
If you do not get enough physical activity you are likely to burn fewer calories than you eat each day, thus increasing your risk of becoming obese.
For children, too little exercise and spending too much time watching TV or playing on the computer can increase their risk of gaining weight and becoming obese.
Obesity may run in families. A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors are likely to a role in the child's excess weight.
In addition, rare hereditary diseases may increase the risk of obesity.
If you are a smoker and want to quit, you may worry that quitting will increase your weight. Keep in mind that you can overcome this weight gain by reducing how many calories you consume and by exercising more. Overall, the health benefits of quitting smoking far exceed the risk of gaining weight.
If you are pregnant, smoking may increase your child's risk of becoming obese.
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Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.