From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2020-05-27 (EDT)

Obesity is a growing concern in North America and other countries. The prevalence of obesity rates differ based on race/ethnicity, as well as sex and age. Overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents in the last 10 years. Obesity is strongly associated with increased rates of many diseases. The increased rate of obesity in children and adolescents is resulting in many chronic diseases, which commonly occurred later in life, now occurring when people are in their early 40s.


Causes Dietary Factors, Sugar, Lack of movement, Lack of sleep
See Also Other Conditions, Hypothyroidism, Type II Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, Fatty Liver
Books Books on Other Conditions
Articles Articles on Other Conditions
Article Childhood Obesity: a Call for Action, Vital Link; 2005 Spring/Summer
Article Greenselect Phytosome as an Adjunct to a Low-Calorie Diet for Treatment of Obesity: A Clinical Trial , Alt Med; 2009;Vol14(2)
Article Potential Applications for Alternative Medicine to Treat Obesity in an Aging Population , Alt Med; 2008;Vol13(1)

Article The overweight obesity epidemic revisited, Low fat, low card or Mediterranean , IHP ; Jun/July 2012
Article Long-Term Effects of a Lifestyle Intervention on Weight and Cardiovascular Risk , NMJ,  ; 2011 September [2]

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. The primary cause of obesity is often thought to be too many calories and too little exercise, yet there are other causes that also need to be considered.


  • Diet is often listed as the primary cause of obesity. The dietary factors that contribute to obesity include:
  • Excess calories, especially as it relates to calorie-rich, nutrient-poor foods.
  • Foods and drinks high in sugar.
  • Consumption of soda pop. Check out this video on the health-impact of soda pop. [3]
  • Diets low in lean protein and fruits and vegetables, especially non-starchy vegetables.[1]
  • Food sensitivities, especially at it relates to wheat, gluten and excess consumption of grains.
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Emotional eating
  • Poor eating habits, such as eating too late, skipping meals and snacking too often.
  • A sedentary lifestyle is associated with obesity.
  • Insomnia and poor sleeping habits can contribute to weight gain.


  • Obesogens are common chemicals in our environment that are associated with obesity. There is a list of 20 suspected obesogens and the list is growing. The mains one include:
  • Synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) which affects the reproductive tract
  • Tributyltin which is widely used in pesticides and other substances
  • Bisphenol-A (BPA) which is found in the lining of food and drink cans, some plastic water bottles, many plastic products in the home, and even the coating of store receipts made of thermal paper.
  • Endocrine disruptors [2]
  • Endocrine disruptors appear to be most dangerous in very small quantities.


  • Chronic stress greatly contributes to obesity, especially in individuals between the ages of 25 and 50.


The concept of inflammation and adipocyte interation seems to be involved in a myriad of chronic metabolic condtions including obesity.[3]

Weight seems to be influenced by four hormones:

  1. Leptin. Leptin is made in the adipocytes and tells the brain to eat less. Inadequate sleep lower leptin levels.
  2. Ghrelin. Ghrelin is made in the stomach and informs the brain to eat more. Inadequate sleep increases ghrelin and makes a person hungrier especially for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and protein seem to lower ghrelin levles more than fats. Fruit has the least impact on ghrelin levels which can result in overeating with high fructose or fruit in the diet.
  3. Cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Inadequate sleep results in higher cortisol levles which results in hyperglycemia.
  4. Insulin. Insulin lowers ghrelin production. High free fatty acid release from abdominal fat at night increases insulin resistance.

Related Conditions

Obesity is commonly associated with the following conditions:

Diagnostic Testing

Obesity is associated with a wide-range of conditions. Diagnostic testing that may be indicated include:[4]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Obesity is treated by identifying and treating the condition that it is associated with. Treatments specific to obesity are included below.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • As a general rule, especially for adults, you want to eat three meals and no snacks.
  • Finishing your last meal three hours prior to bed is typically benefical.
  • Ensure you drink adequate water.
  • Insomnia, irregular sleeping patterns and lack of sleep are all associated with obesity and can impede any effort being made to decrease weight.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

  • Acupuncture can be very beneficial in the treatment of obesity, especially as it relates to decreased digestive function.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cordain Loren (2011) The Paleo Diet, Revised Edition, Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Canadian's Women's Health Network Film review - Programmed to be Fat [1]
  3. Lerman Robert, Tripp Matthew, Bland Jeffrey. (2006) Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of RIAA/Acacia Supplementation on Insulin Homeostasis. Functional Medicine Research Center.
  4. Collins Douglas (1997) Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care, Second Edition, Lippincott-Raven.
  5. Wen LM (2009) Time spent playing outdoors after school and its relationship with independent mobility: a cross-sectional survey of children aged 10-12 years in Sydney, Australia. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act;6-15.
  6. Cleland V (2008) A prospective examination of children's time spent outdoors, objectively measured physical activity and overweight. Int J Obes (Lond);1685-93.
  7. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser 2010 Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
  8. Boon Heather, Smith Michael 2004 The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose, Toronto
  9. Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York
  10. Ullman Robert, Reichenberg-Ullman Judyth 1997, Homeopathic Self-Care, the quick and easy guide for the whole family. Prima Publishing