Childhood obesity can result in several psychological issues. Those issues can be especially problematic during the tween years as the unique social atmosphere this age group tends to face.
Being overweight or obese tends to lower self-esteem, increased anxiety and several other serious disorders like depression and eating disorders, such as binge eating, bulimia and anorexia. The causes of excess weight gain in young people are similar to those in adults, including behavior and genetics. Community is also a factor to influence obesity as it can affect the ability to make healthy choices.
Childhood obesity is more than a physical problem. They are often hyper-aware of how they compare to others, which makes them self-conscious and feeling alone. Social comparisons play havoc on them mentally, which is why a tween with obesity tends to feel out of place among their slimmer peers. Perhaps not surprisingly, various studies point out to the lower levels of self-esteem in children and tweens with obesity compared to their average-weight peers. They also tend to be unhappy with themselves in various ways, including socially and not just with their appearance.
Higher Risk of Eating Disorders
This risk is partly due to the efforts to lose weight, which can easily lead to unhealthy behaviors like eating less or exercising more.Low self-esteem and low self-efficacy, which are common in obese children, are also risk factors for eating disorders.
Show Increased Behavioural Problems
Every tween tends to act out at some point or another, but parents of tweens with obesity have reported more behavioural problems in their tweens with obesity compared to parents of tweens of average weight. Obese children have more internalized problems in which anger is directed inward. That may manifest as anxiety, depression and eating disorders, among others. Externalizing problems are also manifested in them when their anger is directed outward, such as aggression, defiance, and backtalk. Obese tweens are also found as less competent in school and social settings, putting their academic success and friendships at risk. Having lower test scores is also often linked to students with obesity, especially in female students.
Consequences of Obesity
Obesity during childhood can harm the body in several ways. Children who have obesity are more likely to have:
⦁ High blood pressure and high cholesterol
⦁ Breathing problems (asthma and sleep apnea)
⦁ Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux
⦁ Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort
What Steps Do Parents Need to Take to Prevent Them?
Parents have a crucial role in helping prevent these consequences. If they find obesity as a problem in their child and their child is suffering because of weight-related issues, contacting a bariatric consultant for weight loss treatment should be the first step to getting your child the help they need.