HomeAboutHealthy eatingPhysical activityStop smokingWorkplacesBreast feedingMental wellbeingNews & eventsSuccess stories
Site Search

Enter what you are looking for into the box below.


A balanced diet Tips for healthy eating How big are your portions? Snacking the healthier way Eating Disorders Alcohol How to read a food label Tips for cooking healthily What is your Body Mass Index? What is your waist size? What factors may affect your weight Interactive tools Links

What factors may affect your weight?

While there are many factors involved, an increase in body weight always results from an imbalance between energy intake (food) and energy expenditure (through a combination of metabolic rate, generating body heat and being active). NOTE - An increase in body weight can also result from an increase in muscle mass. This is a consideration for people who participate in regular weight training, and does not reflect unhealthy weight gain.

Why do energy imbalances occur?

In the world we live in now - with more fast food outlets, bigger portions and energy saving devices - everyone is at risk of at least becoming overweight! However particular factors influence why weight is gained. These include:

A previous history of weight loss.

The effects of weight cycling – frequent large gains and losses – on long term health are unclear, but there are associations between the number of failed weight loss attempts and current body weight, as well as health risks.

Life Stages

Weight gain is common, although not inevitable, at various life stages – for example, after pregnancy, and during menopause.

Life events

Certain life events – such as marriage, giving up sport, and quitting smoking – can cause weight gain. Weight gain after quitting smoking can be significant (i.e. 5 kg in the first year). For this reason, having a weight management plan at the time of quitting may help reduce the weight gain that normally occurs after quitting.

Family, work and social environments

Can influence weight gain and the inability to lose weight.
Genetic influences. Genetic predisposition can influence the amount and rate at which weight is gained and lost.


May need to be considered as a factor that can cause either weight gain or weight loss, depending on the person’s reaction to stress.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, for example, hypothyroidrism, are known causes of being overweight.

Medical treatments

Certain prescription medications can exacerbate weight gain (in particular, benzodiazepines, corticsteroids, anti-psychotics, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-epileptics, sulphonylureas, and insulin).

Cookie Policy