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The issue of blacks and weight management continues to be a problematic topic. Studies say that four out of five black women are overweight or obese, and that blacks in general are about 1.5 times more likely to be obese than whites.

Now, you already know the weight gain/weight loss basics: eat right and exercise.

But, as if these two things aren’t already challenging enough, there may be more to it than that. According to the NIH, certain health problems can help add inches to your waist as well.

Here are some of the top medical conditions that may help influence the numbers on your scale:


What’s so bad about not getting enough sleep? Aside from the fact that the human body needs sleep in order to restore and heal organs and tissues, not sleeping enough can lead to eating not-so-healthy food late at night. Also, sleep-deprivation can lead to changes in hormone levels, which can, in turn, increase hunger and appetite.


Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted into the body when you feel stressed. This causes an increase in appetite. And unfortunately, very few people who are stressed tend to reach for kale and glasses of water.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Weight gain is a common symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, a condition in which you are exposed to too much of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn causes weight gain and other abnormalities. You can get Cushing’s syndrome if you take steroids for asthma, arthritis, or lupus. It can also happen when your adrenal glands make too much cortisol, or it could be related to a tumor. The weight gain may be most prominent around the face, neck, upper back, or waist.


An unfortunate side effect from some antidepressants is weight gain. Some people gain weight after beginning drug treatment simply they’re feeling better, which can lead to a better appetite. Also, depression itself can cause changes in weight.

Also, it’s important to note that, according to HealthDay, a recent study suggests that weight gain from antidepressants isn’t necessarily as dramatic as previously thought.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal problem in women of childbearing age, and involves small cysts growing on women’s ovaries. This condition can lead to hormone imbalances, which can affect menstrual cycles, as well as cause extra body hair and acne. Women with this condition are resistant to insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar), so it may cause weight gain, which tends to collect around the belly.

Diabetes/High Blood Pressure

Several prescription drugs are linked to weight gain. The list includes antipsychotic drugs (used to treat disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), along with medications to treat migraines, seizures, high blood pressure, and diabetes.


If your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone, it makes you tired, weak and cold. It can also make you gain weight. Without enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism slows, making weight gain more likely.

What To Do About It

If you suspect that a medical condition could be contributing to your weight gain, don’t ignore it. The problem may not go away by itself, and increased weight gain can actually increase your risks of developing other conditions. ¬†Instead, talk to your doctor to see if the condition, or the meds you’re taking, may be causing the problem. Your doctor should be able to help you figure out the issue, including changing your medication, if necessary.

On top of all this, be sure to continue living as healthfully as possible, meaning eat a balanced diet, watch your portion sizes, drink enough water and be active.