Kids with Emotional Problems Risk Adult Obesity

Posted: Mar 06 in Bounce by

New research suggests that children who are dealing with emotional problems and self-esteem issues may be more likely to become obese as they become adults.

A study published in BMC Medicine looked at data from the 1970 British Birth cohort Study. During the study, about 6,500 10-year-olds were assessed for emotional problems, self-perceptions, and BMI. The same group of people reported their BMI again 20 years later when they reached age 30.

Reviewers found that children who had been characterized as having a lower self-esteem were more likely to have a higher BMI by age 30 than children who did not have lower self-esteem. Similarly, the subjects who felt less in control of their lives or worried often were more likely to gain more weight as they aged. Researchers also discovered that girls were slightly more likely to be affected by these emotional factors than boys.

Researchers noted that, “While we cannot say that childhood emotional problems cause obesity in later life, we can certainly say they play a role, along with factors such as parental BMI, diet, and exercise.”

The study suggests that one way to combat childhood obesity may be to address the emotional well being of young children. Paying attention to the self-esteem and emotional problems of a child may prevent the development of an overweight adult.

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