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What causes obesity?

March 11, 2021

Each year on March 4, we recognize World Obesity Day. Recognized internationally, the day is designed to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and provide individuals with obesity helpful information and resources. There is an unfair bias toward individuals with obesity and the false assumption that obesity is caused by factors entirely in our control, such as laziness and overeating. There are countless factors that play a role in the disease of obesity—many of which are not in our control.


Genetics play a role in obesity. For example, if an individual’s parents both have obesity, the child is more likely to also struggle with obesity. The way fat is distributed and your metabolism are affected by genetics. We also learn eating and exercise habits from our families, meaning that individuals may be more likely to pick up unhealthy habits if they’re surrounded by them growing up.

Lack of accessibility

The lack of accessibility to resources can play a role in obesity in more ways than one. This includes environmental, social, and economic factors. Some people do not have access to a safe environment that allows them the space to exercise. There may not be an accessible fitness center in town and there may not be sidewalks or bike trails. Other individuals do not have access to healthy foods, whether that is because they cannot afford healthy foods or because there is a lack of resources nearby. Many people do not have access to affordable health care to help them treat their obesity either. These same individuals may also not know how to cook healthy foods or have the resources to learn. This lack of resources is an unfortunate reality that many organizations, like the World Obesity Organization, are aiming to fix.

Illnesses and medications

There is a whole list of illnesses and medications that can cause people to gain weight and struggle to lose it. Steroids and antidepressants, which are commonly prescribed, are linked to weight gain. Similarly, certain illnesses make exercising difficult, if not nearly impossible.

Lifestyle choices

 Making unhealthy food choices—such as eating a diet high in fat and sugar—or overeating can lead to weight gain. A sedentary lifestyle is also linked to weight gain. However, it is important to remember that this is not the only factor that contributes to obesity.

There are other factors that can make it more difficult for individuals to maintain a healthy weight, such as stress, poor sleep habits, and yo-yo dieting. To access weight-loss resources, visit our blog.

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.