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Root 5

Life Events

Prenatal life, early adulthood, pregnancy, illnesses and medications can all influence weight gain.

Events that occur across the course of one’s life can be drivers of weight gain. Infancy and prenatal life are critical periods where nutritional factors can predispose to obesity in adulthood.

Early adulthood: In high-income countries like the United States, from age 20-40, average weight gain is 1-2 pounds (1/2 to 1 kg) per year. Some people gain even more than average, especially when exposed to weight gain drivers like sedentary lifestyle, emotional or financial stress and sleep disturbances or shift work.

Pregnancy: With the birth of every child, the mother will retain on average 2 pounds (1 kilogram). Some women retain more. That adds up with multiple births. Menopause in women: While studies don’t confirm excess weight gain with menopause itself, there is a shift in body fat distribution to a less favourable, “apple shape” pattern, which is associated with more risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Some Illnesses (such as depression) and some medications (such as steroids for asthma and some antidepressants) can produce weight gain. If you are struggling with your weight, bring a list of your medications to your health care provider. Changing medications associated with weight gain may help with weight loss.


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