The Psychological and Emtional Problems of Childhood Obesity

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Along with the physical complications caused by childhood obesity, the psychological and emotional problems need to be addressed in order to provide true holistic care. It is imperative for nurses and healthcare providers to understand that obesity does not just affect a child’s physical wellbeing, but also their emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown an association among obese children with: depression, social isolation, discrimination, eating disorders, and poor self-esteem. Some of these problems even exist for children who are overweight and not yet classified as obese. For growing children there are multiple factors that can affect an obese child’s self-image. Through reviewing multiple studies regarding the emotional effect of obese children, Cornette (2008) found that children ages 12 to 14 years old encountered self-esteem and social functioning issues more so than adolescents (p.139). This may be because children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old are experiencing puberty and it is normal for feelings of insecurity to arise. This fact on top with being obese can affect a child’s self-esteem, self-image, and self-concept. Children are aware of their own body size compared to others in their age group (Munn, Yifan, Moola, & McArthur, 2011, p.954). Also, obese children often times experience teasing and social isolation due to peers judging them based on their outer appearance. Thus discrimination occurs, and obese children are more likely to be a target of bullying and isolation (Munn et al., 2011, p.954). Age is not the only factor; gender plays an important role. It was found that females reported greater emotional disturbances related to their weight (Cornette, 2008, p.140). Cornette (2008) found studies that repo... ... middle of paper ... ...y mass index to depression and self-perception of physical appearance and global self-worth in children. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(12), 2646-2648. doi:10.1111/j,1365-2648.2012.05963.x Cornette, R. (2008). The emotional impact of obesity on children. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 5(3), 136-141. Munn, Z., Yifan, X., Moola, S., & McArthur, A. (2011). Children's views about obesity, body size, shape and weight; Inequalities and the mental health of young people: A systematic review of secondary school-based cognitive behavioral interventions; Intervention strategies that support self-care activities: an integrative study across disease/impairment groupings; Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience intimate partner abuse. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(5), 954-960.

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