Ever wondered why it can be such a major struggle to lose weight?
Maybe you’ve found it a little difficult to zip up your jeans, or perhaps you’ve joined the gym after seeing a particularly unflattering Facebook photo of yourself.
But the most annoying thing of all? Your mum probably NEVER had these issues when she was your age.
However, there’s actually (*celebratory dance*) a scientific reason why our generation finds it harder to shift the pounds.
Yep, it’s true. The clever researchers at Toronto’s York University found this out when they studied the dietary and physical activity of American adults between 1971-2008.
They found that given the same food intake and level of physical activity, people in 2008 were 10% heavier than those in 1971 and 5% heavier than people in 1988.
Therefore, the study – which was funded by the Canadian Institutes Of Health Research – has concluded that external factors must be partially to blame for the rising obesity rate.
So what ARE these external factors?
According to lead researcher Jennifer Kuk, genetics, medication, environmental pollutants and even the time of day people eat their food could all be making it harder for us to lose weight.
‘If you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint, you wouldn’t eat when it was dark out. So maybe we are genetically programmed to eat during the day and not during the night,’ she says.
‘The reasons why we are seeing this increase in body weight might be because we can now do things that we are not programmed to do.’
There’s also the fact that women have begun to have babies later in life. Jennifer continues: ‘Mothers who are older tend to have heavier babies later on in life.
‘If the mother herself is struggling with obesity, then that child will be even more likely to struggle with it as well.’
There’s also some ‘strong research’ to suggest that pesticides, the by-products of burning fossil fuels, forest fires and cigarette smoking could be linked to obesity.
Some medications contain molecules that act like estrogen, which can change our metabolism and make us better at storing fat.
As Jennifer says: ‘You can’t just look at someone and say: “You’re not healthy because you weigh too much. You need to eat less and exercise more.”
‘There could be many more factors that are in play as to why they have that increased body weight that have nothing to do with their diet.’
And that’s an important message for us all to note.