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Chronic Stress Linked to Obesity

By jeremyc | April 23, 2017

There’s some bad news for people living with chronic stress. A new study suggests that chronically stressed people not only tend to put on excess weight more but also find it much harder to lose them.

The culprit was found to be cortisol. Whenever we are under stress, cortisol levels in the body rise. Cortisol plays a role in many biological processes, like body composition, metabolism, and fat accumulation. Additionally, chronically stressed people might be less motivated to do regular physical exercise or say no to unhealthy foods.

Earlier studies too have linked high cortisol levels with obesity. However, these studies didn’t measured long-term stress levels. In this study, the researchers focused on data of participants of another study. The participants were aged 54 or above. Every two years, the participants underwent testing. They also provided a hair sample during the course of study, which was used to measure cortisol levels.

The researchers noticed that obesity rate was greater in participants with higher cortisol levels compared to those with lower amount of cortisol in their hair. Additionally, participants in the higher cortisol group were also found to be more likely to have excess fat around the abdomen area.

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