According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in the US in 2017-2018 was 42.4%. 
The growing rates of obesity are a concern because excess weight is associated with the development of various health conditions like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke, unbalanced cholesterol, slow metabolism, and other related issues like fatigue, high blood pressure, and depression. 
All things considered, obesity is a medical condition that should be taken seriously and made a top priority in any health care plan.
Even though poor dietary choices and unhealthy lifestyle play a key role in obesity, this health condition can also be caused by hormonal imbalance.
This article will guide you through the hormones that play a role in weight management!
Keep in mind that hormonal imbalance is a serious health condition that may require medical attention and tailored advice. Do not try to self-diagnose or treat such conditions without having a consultation with your healthcare provider.
Let’s get started!
How do hormones impact weight?
Hormones are signaling molecules in your body that align internal processes, and impact your physical and mental health. They are essential for managing and aligning the activities of your organs and body systems. And when there is an imbalance, you might experience distinct health issues (with varying intensity), which can lower your quality of life.
That being said, there are many hormones that play a role in weight management, BMI, and fat storing. An imbalanced (excess or insufficient) synthesis of those hormones may negatively affect your appetite, metabolism, water retention and fat-storing mechanisms, as well as your digestive system. 
Such imbalance may go both ways:
- It can make you lose weight.
- It can make you gain weight (due to water or fat storage) and cause obesity.
What can cause hormonal imbalances?
According to Lucas Research, there are various causes for hormonal imbalance, including:
- Thyroid issues
- Autoimmune diseases
- Intake of certain medications
- Unhealthy lifestyle (lack of exercise and poor diet)
- Environmental toxins
- Excess stress
What hormones affect weight?
Even though there are many hormones that may affect your weight and play a role in obesity development, we will look in detail at the following 5:
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Sex hormones are responsible for fat storage and distribution. They include estrogens (predominant in females) and androgens (predominant in males).
Estrogen (oestrogen) is the primary female hormone, as it is responsible for the “female physical characteristics,” as well as for healthy skin, blood vessels and bones.  Imbalance in the levels of this hormone in the body can lead to weight gain predisposition in different parts of the body.
Common causes for increased levels of estrogen can include increased intake of environmental estrogens ie birth control and decreased ability to clear estrogen out of the body (ie liver inflammation). One more recent discovery was the influence of plastics on our hormones. One 2003 study found that the use of plastic bottles and containers containing BPA may also result in estrogen imbalance. 
Cortisol is a hormone released in response to physical and mental stressors, often alongside adrenalin. Some of cortisol’s roles in the body include   :
- Increasing blood sugar
- Water retention
- Increased blood pressure
- Affects thyroid hormone (the hormone responsible for out metabolism)
- Increasing fat deposition around the internal organs, abdomen, chest, face arms and thighs
According to a 2015 study of the Monash University, high cortisol levels may also play a role in increased food intake, reduced energy expenditure, and predisposition to weight gain and obesity.
Leptin is a hormone, which is responsible for giving signals to the brain about feeling hunger and fullness. It’s produced in the fat cells in the body.  In general, the more adipose tissue (fat) you store, the higher your leptin levels are.
Further to this, a 2012 study in the Obesity Society Journal suggests that leptin resistance can be associated with continuous weight gain of the general population, while increased leptin blood levels may suggest modified leptin sensitivity.
The main function of insulin is to balance the blood sugar levels, control storage of fat, and support the body in converting blood glucose into energy. 
The pancreas produces insulin in response to increased blood sugar, with the purpose to decrease your blood sugars back down to normal. But why can insulin make you gain weight?
More specifically, evidence suggests that impaired insulin sensitivity can be related to significant weight gain in the stomach area predominantly. 
Human growth hormone
As the name suggests, human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone primary responsible for bone and muscle growth in children. Additionally, it plays an important role in maintaining normal body structure in adults, managing metabolism and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. 
Sudden weight gain may be caused by various factors, including hormonal imbalance. However, keep in mind that obesity is a major factor that can lead to hormonal imbalance. This way, the vicious circle closes and you may experience extreme difficulty in losing your extra pounds.
The best way to deal with this condition is to consult your healthcare provider or a dietitian.