The psychosocial impacts of obesity in children and young people: A future health perspective

Sue Xavier*, Sema Mandal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Childhood and adolescent obesity has at last been recognised as a public health priority in several countries, with body mass indexes in children rising rapidly over the past two decades. The physical health impacts of obesity are well acknowledged but the significance of the psychological impact of obesity in childhood is often underestimated. Obese children are susceptible to discrimination and stigmatisation as well as often suffering from low self-esteem and are prone to demonstrating high-risk behaviours. Government recommendations have elevated the profile of obesity in children with a strong focus on the need to modify both nutritional intake and physical activity. Whilst these are undoubtedly the mainstays of any weight loss programme, there is a definite need to optimise emotional well being if weight loss and maintenance is to be achieved. This paper reviews data from the UK and USA and studies the proposed associations between obesity and depression. We also examine more closely the psychological consequences for obese and overweight children and adolescents. It is our suggestion that there is a need to highlight sensitively both publicly and within the healthcare profession, the associated psychological issues of obesity in children if this recognised public health burden is to be managed with any lasting effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Medicine
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Psychological
  • Psychology

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