Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Abnormal Feeding and Obesity – How Are They Linked?

There are many factors that can contribute to obesity. This article will emphasize on how abnormal feeding and obesity are linked to each other. Abnormal feeding regulation is an important cause of obesity. The rate of feeding is normally regulated in proportion to the nutrient stores in the body. When these stores begin to approach an optimal level in a normal person, feeding is automatically reduced to prevent over storage.

However, in many obese people this is not true; for feeding does not slacken until body weight is far above normal. Therefore, in effect, obesity is often caused by an abnormality of the feeding regulatory mechanism. This can result from either the psychogenic factors that effect the regulation or actual abnormalities of the hypothalamus self.

Psychogenic obesity - Studies indicate that a large proportion of obesity results from psychogenic factors. The most common psychogenic factor contributing to obesity is the prevalent idea that healthy eating habits require three meals a day and that each meal must be filling. Many children are forced into this habit by overly solicitous parents and the children continue to practice it throughout life. In addition, persons are known often to gain large amounts of weight during or following stressful situations such as death of a parent, a severe illness, or even mental depression. It seems that eating is often a means of release from tension.

Hypothalamic abnormalities - Hypothalamus, the higher centers of the brain, is concerned with regulation of food intake. Lesions in the ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus cause an animal to eat excessively and become obese. It has also been discovered that such lesions are associated with excess insulin production which in turn increases fat deposition. Also many persons with hypo physical tumors that encroach on the hypothalamus develop progressive obesity, illustrating that obesity in the human being, too, can definitely result from damage to the hypothalamus.

Yet in the normal obese person hypothalamic damage is almost never found. Nevertheless it is possible that the functional organization of the feeding center is different in the obese person from that of the non-obese person. For instance, a normally obese person who has reduced to normal weight by strict dietary measures usually develops hunger that is demonstrably for greater than that of the normal person. This indicates that the ‘set point’ of the obese persons feeding center is at a much higher level of nutrient storage than that of the normal person.

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