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Stress is a prevalent problem in today’s world with several people succumbing to it on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t lead to health problems, which brings us to the topic of discussion – obesity. Dr Itolikar explains, “In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, stress is encountered by all age groups, be it peer pressure among children, economic and societal pressure among middle-aged or health issues faced by the elderly. Obesity further adds to the stress by virtue of being a social stigma. Hence, we need to understand how to combat this problem and keep the deathly duo at bay.”
So, how does stress lead to obesity?
Not one, but stress can lead to obesity in several ways. The expert shares three ways in which stress affects.
1. Impaired behavioural response
Stress affects our cognitive (processing) ability and self-regulatory behaviour. This forms the basis of stress eating, binge eating, and other factors that lead to obesity, adds Dr Itolikar.
2. Stress hormone
The fight-or-flight hormone (cortisol) wreaks havoc in our body by opposing the action of the body’s glucose-lowering hormone known as insulin. This leads to high blood sugar level, low cellular glucose levels, and increased appetite, all of which contribute to obesity.
3. Fat deposition
Cortisol mobilises fats from storage sites and relocates them around organs and visceral sites like the abdomen and thighs leading to obesity, explains the expert.