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Adult Obesity can be Caused by Low Self-Esteem During Childhood

By Chris Dade     Sep 11, 2009 in Health
Research conducted by Kings College, London suggests that adults who suffer from obesity often had low self-esteem during childhood, with girls more likely to be affected than boys.
Whilst the research, carried out by the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, is by no means conclusive it does seem to point to obesity as being more than just an problem related to a person's metabolism, as is widely assumed.
The Medical News reports that that the research team of Andrew Ternouth, David Collier and Barbara Maughan studied data provided by 6,500 people who took part in the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study.
All those who participated in the study, full details of which have been published by the journal BMC Medicine, had their weight, height and emotional state noted by a nurse when they were 10 years old. When they reached 30 years old they contacted the study themselves to report on their adult height and weight.
The BBC quotes the leader of the research, Professor David Collier, as saying that the emotional problems that might cause obesity are not necessarily of an extreme nature but may just as easily be relatively normal levels of anxiety and mild cases of low self-esteem.
Professor Collier's colleague Andrew Ternouth was quick to emphasize that the weight of one's parents, a person's exercise regime and the diet they follow are also important factors to consider. Nevertheless Mr Ternouth maintains that promoting good self-esteem within children can be beneficial when it comes to a person's physique, as well as aiding their mental development.
In concluding their study the research team noted:Given the growing problem with childhood obesity in many western societies, these findings are particularly important. On a larger scale, they may offer hope in the battle to control the current obesity epidemic
Among those commenting on the study has been Dr Ian Campbell. He is from the charity Weight Concern, whose website states that it is "dedicated to fighting the UK's obesity epidemic", and according to the BBC he said:This study presents some disturbing evidence that, as we suspected, childhood psychological issues have an influence on future weight gain and health. Many of the adults we work with have identifiable underlying emotional and self esteem issues and are often resistant to treatment. The message here is that early intervention, in childhood, can be the key to combating adult obesity. That requires much more than health practitioners can deliver alone and needs greater alertness from parents, teachers, and anyone involved in the welfare of children
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