The exact causes of morbid obesity are not understood, but there are, most likely, many factors involved. Obesity (excess fat storage) arises from an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. By adolescence, the problem is particularly intractable if overeating is coupled with lack of physical activity. Some scientific data indicate that 80% of obesity may be inherited, strongly indicating a genetic cause. The most probable contributing factors to obesity are genetic, psychological, environmental, social and cultural influences.

Severe obesity is absolutely not caused by a lack of self-control. Because of the multi-faceted nature of this disorder, there is no single quick fix of the problem nor is there a single way to achieve permanent weight loss for every individual. Most young patients initially come to the Pediatric Obesity Program for treatment of diabetes, heart problems, bone loss, or other complications associated with their obesity. Patients will under-go rigorous education and a lengthy program of multidisciplinary, non-surgical therapies. That is why a comprehensive approach to the problem is absolutely necessary.