Low self-esteem in childhood leads to adult obesity

A large study in England found children with low self-esteem and anxiety had a greater risk of obesity as adults.  The study published in BMC Medicine this week studied 6500 children born in 1970, and studied them 30 years later.  Those with low self-esteem, and other emotional problems in childhood were more likely be overweight as adults.

What are possible reasons for this effect?

  1. Severe emotional problems can present earlier in life.
  2. Many overweight people use food’s calming effect to medicate their feelings of depression and anxiety.
  3. Many anxiety and depression medications cause weight gain.

My experience has shown that individuals with emotional issues are less likely to lose weight on their own.  Successful weight loss requires close attention not only to diet, but also to the underlying reasons for weight gain.  In many cases, emotional support can make the difference between failure and success.

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