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Friday 28th October 2016

Obesity link to low self-esteem

11th September 2009

A research team from King’s College London has reported that children with self-esteem problems are more likely to be obese as adults.

It studied 6,500 participants in the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study and that found that 10-year-olds with lower self esteem tended to be fatter as adults, particularly among girls.

All of the children had their weight and height measured by a nurse when they were 10 and then reported the difference when they were 30, as well as noting their emotional states.

Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, the research team said that those who had been most likely to put on weight were those with a lower self-esteem, those who felt less in control of their lives, and who had worries.

Lead researcher Professor David Collier said: "What's novel about this study is that obesity has been regarded as a medical metabolic disorder - what we've found is that emotional problems are a risk factor for obesity.

"This is not about people with deep psychological problems, all the anxiety and low self-esteem were within the normal range."

Andrew Ternouth, another researcher, said that although it was not possible to say that childhood emotional problems caused obesity in later life, it was clear that they played a role, along with factors such as parental weight, diet and exercise.

Dr Ian Campbell, of the charity Weight Concern, said: "This study presents some disturbing evidence that, as we suspected, childhood psychological issues have an influence on future weight gain and health.”


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