Obesity increases the risk for emotional problems

Study shows strong link between obesity and mental health

Obesity has a negative influence on mental health. This connection develops, apparently, already in early Childhood. New research suggests that results.

Obesity is endangering the health

More and more people around the world suffer from Overweight and obesity. Also, many of the children and young people are much too thick. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous diseases such as high blood pressure or Diabetes. In addition, Obesity promotes mental illness. The connection between mental health and obesity begins to develop in very young children. This was found out by researchers from the UK now.

Obesity and emotional problems such as anxiety and bad mood are developing at a young age Hand-in-Hand. New research suggests that results. (Image: kwanchaichaiudom/fotolia.com)

The connection between obesity and emotional problems

According to the new research results presented at the “European Congress on Obesity” (ECO) in Glasgow, to develop obesity and emotional problems such as feelings of anxiety and low mood in young years, Hand-in-Hand.

The researchers from the University of Liverpool and University College London found in their analysis that girls and boys with Obesity were at the age of seven are at a higher risk for emotional problems at the age of eleven years.

In younger children this correlation was not apparent.

On average, girls had a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and emotional symptoms than boys at the age of seven to 14 years, but the simultaneous Occurrence and the development of obesity and emotional problems in girls and boys the same.

In order to reach these results, evaluated the researchers of data from more than 17,000 children born between 2000 and 2002 in the UK.

They had information about the size and weight of the children (BMI), as well as reports of their emotional problems, which have been placed by their parents at the age of three, five, seven, eleven and 14 years.

The study authors used statistical models to measure the relationship between obesity and emotional problems.

The results of the study were published in the journal “JAMA Psychiatry”.

A number of factors could play a role

Although not examined in the study, why obesity and emotional problems develop together in Childhood. However, the researchers assume that probably a number of factors play a role.

“Children with a higher BMI may experience a weight-related discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can contribute over time to increased depressive symptoms,” said study leader Dr Charlotte Hardman from the University of Liverpool, according to a communication in the journal “EurekAlert!” was published.

In adults, this had been already shown in the past. And “depression can lead to emotional eating of foods with high calorie content, poor sleep, and lethargy to obesity”, says the expert.

In addition, the researchers found evidence to suggest that socio-economic disadvantage the link between obesity in children and poor mental health in part.

“The common socio-economic risk in the development of obesity and poor mental illness could be explained by a number of factors,” said Co-study leader Dr. Praveetha Patalay, University College London.

“So there are in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, in General, less access to healthy foods and green spaces, which can lead to an increase in obesity and emotional problems and the impact of socio-economic deprivation at the family level.”

Early Intervention

“Our finding underscores the importance of early intervention, aimed at both the weight as well as on the mental health and negative outcomes later in a child minimize,” says Dr. Hardman.

“People think that it is so easy to eat less, and exercise more – but it is much more complex,” said the author, according to a report by the “BBC”. “Obesity and emotional problems are connected to each other,” said the scientist.

“From the age of seven years, mental health and obesity seem to fold and to reinforce each other.” Then children would be stuck “in a vicious circles”.

And: “Since both the rate of obesity as well as emotional problems in Childhood increase the Understanding of their simultaneous occurrence is a major concern of public health, as both are associated with worse health in adulthood,” said Dr. Hardman.

The authors indicate that their results show observation correlations, so that no clear conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

In addition, certain circumstances, such as non-measured confounding factors or untrue reports of the parents could have influenced the results. (ad)