Effects of Childhood Obesity

Psychological Effects of Childhood Obesity

Besides the physical effects, there may be psychological effects of childhood obesity. In one study, severely obese children recorded their quality of life with scores as low as children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Health-related quality of life includes physical, mental, and social well-being.
Social discrimination and low self-esteem were two areas that seemed to be most affected in this study. This may have been, in part, due to physical limitations, feeling isolated or lonely, and/or teasing from peers, which is common in adolescents who are obese. Interestingly, parents answered the same questionnaires, and their ratings of their children's well-being were even lower than the children's self-ratings.
In other studies that included both overweight and obese children, the results were not as dramatic, although they were still significant. In these studies, decreases in emotional and school functioning scores by weight category were not significant.
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