Factors that Can Influence Your BMI


Excessive weight and obesity are serious public health concerns because of their links with a number of potentially serious health conditions, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. However, despite its prevalence, obesity is widely misunderstood. We generally associate weight with diet and physical activity and is generally measured in BMI. Even though these factors do play a major role in determining one’s weight and body fat percentage, associating obesity with just these two factors is an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon. 

Characterized by a high BMI score, obesity is a complex health issue caused by a number of factors. This is why we often see that people with similar amounts of physical activity and dietary patterns have different body weights, amounts of body fat, and physique.

What Factors Can Put You At The Risk of a High BMI?

Some of the factors that can increase the risk of obesity and high BMI include:

1. Genetics and Family History

It may sound unfair, but your chances of being overweight or obese are greater if one or both of your parents are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, obesity runs in families. This is why we see that some people are naturally predisposed to storing fat and gaining weight easily and hence, are at the risk of having a high BMI while others have lean and slim body structures.

Your genetic composition also plays a role in how much and where your body stores fat. 

2. Race and Ethnicity

Like many other health issues, your race and ethnicity can also put you at the risk of obesity. For example, African Americans have been found to have the highest obesity rates. Asian American adults, on the other hand, have the lowest rates of obesity in the United States. 

3. Age

While this isn’t always true, many people start to gain weight as they age. This often starts in adulthood and can continue until the age of 60 to 65. However, age isn’t an independent contributing factor to obesity. More often than not, people start to gain weight with increasing age due to sedentary lifestyles and health issues.

4. Sex

Sex may not be a major contributing factor to obesity (even though the rate has been found to be higher in Hispanic and African American women than men), but it can have an impact on where your body stores fat. Men generally have a tendency to accumulate fat in the abdomen (belly) whereas women tend to store fat in the hip area.

5. Inadequate Sleep

There is a huge amount of evidence available regarding the link between sleep and body weight. According to research, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain by altering the levels of appetite-controlling and satiety inducing hormones. As a result, people tend to eat more. 

Lack of sleep can also contribute to fat accumulation and weight gain by decreasing the amount of energy that your body burns.

6. Medical Conditions

Research has shown that certain medical conditions, like PCOS, hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s syndrome, not only cause weight gain, but also make it difficult to lose.

7. Lifestyle Factors

Your eating habits, food choices, and physical activity are key lifestyle factors that have a huge impact on your weight and BMI. The concept behind this is very simple – if you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. 


Excessive weight and obesity are multifactorial phenomena. Some of them can be controlled while others are natural. However, this doesn’t mean that if you are naturally predisposed to gaining weight, you cannot do anything to prevent it. There are several ways to keep your BMI within a healthy range, even if you’re naturally inclined to weight gain or your body has the tendency to accumulate fat. Your lifestyle plays the key role in this. Be careful of your dietary habits and incorporate any kind of physical activity in your daily routine to stay healthy and fit.

Image Credits

Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash