Skip to content

Stop Doing This or You'll Get Obese, Experts Warn

These bad habits can lead to bad health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.4% of adults in the U.S. are obese. Serious health issues like high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes are linked to obesity. While overeating, poor diet and lack of exercise are causes of obesity, there are other lifestyle choices that cause obesity as well. Eat This, Not That! Health talked to Megan Mescher-Cox, DO, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine and Obesity Medicine who breaks down other behaviors that contribute to obesity. Read the five tips below for things to stop doing now or you'll get obese. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Not Getting Adequate Sleep

Sad Woman Lying On Bed

Not getting a good night's rest doesn't just make us tired, but it can lead to obesity, says Cox. "Inadequate sleep has been linked to a threefold greater odds of metabolic syndrome. The Nurses Health study showed us that short sleep duration (less than 7 hours)

was associated with increased weight gain and this trend continues over years. With inadequate sleep, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin are higher and levels of satiety hormones (which tell your body that you are full after eating), such as leptin, are lower. Sleep deprivation also leads to less healthful food choices which also contribute to higher weights. When I am working with a patient on weight loss, sleep is such a critical factor that often our first step will be to just work on getting sleep. Optimally, 7-8 hours nightly. It is important to note that rates of obesity and other chronic diseases increase with too little sleep but also with excessive amounts of sleep as well.


Late Bedtime

Young exhausted,depressed,concentrated woman sitting in her room or office with french windows in the dark at the lamp

For anyone who stays up late, but still gets plenty of sleep, you're still at risk for obesity, says Cox. "So what if we get the same amount of sleep but go to bed later? This still results in a higher risk of obesity," Cox explains. A study was done to look at people that go to bed between 8-10 pm versus 2-6 am bedtime and found an increased risk of obesity prevalence." 

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Wreck Your Brain


Eating More Later In The Day

Cox says, "I see a lot of patients doing 'intermittent fasting' which can be helpful in our society where food is omnipresent but a note to get the biggest bang for your buck: eating more earlier in the day will result in more weight loss than those same calories in the latter part of the day. Throughout the day there are hormonal changes that result in how your body processes food, making a morning calorie equal less weight gain than an evening calorie."

RELATED: Ugly Side Effects of Too Many Supplements


Lack Of Moderate To Vigorous Physical Activity 

Woman exercise walking outdoors, shoes closeup

Working out is one of the key factors in fighting obesity, but Cox explains how much exercise is actually needed. "Moderate physical activity defined as 150 minutes a week helps prevent weight gain. In fact, even if someone is at increased risk of obesity from genetics, physical activity can help reduce the odds of obesity."

RELATED: The #1 Best Cure for Visceral Fat, Say Experts


Distracted Eating

woman is chewing pizza, while laying on the white sofa. She is watching TV shows, being on blurred background.

Most of us snack while watching a movie or TV, but according to Cox, that's one of the worst things we can do for our health. "Watching television or other distractions causes people to eat more without realizing how much has been consumed," she says. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
Filed Under