While the most commonly cited reasons for the obesity epidemic are excessive food marketing and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, other contributing factors may hold just as much weight. Culture, addiction, genetics, and even "cognitive overload" may play significant roles.
Some scientists point out that too little sleep, advanced maternal age, and even excessive "cognitive demand" may be significantly affecting one's propensity to gain weight. In fact, sharp increases in obesity rates seems to have coincided with the prevalence of personal computers and technologically enhanced workplaces over the past 30 years. According to new research, the act of being constantly involved in cognitive tasks may have a negative effect on wearing out one's sense of self-control to resist heavily marketed food temptations.
Furthermore, addiction may also play a role in exacerbating the obesity epidemic. New MRI brain scan research suggests that eating certain foods, and even receiving visual cues of certain foods, such as those high in sugar, fat, and salt, activate certain areas of the brain that resemble drug and alcohol addiction.