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How Obesity affects your child's mental health

How Obesity affects your child's mental health

Children who are chubby might look super cute but childhood obesity has rapidly become a severe public health challenge. 

Worldwide, tens of millions of children below the age of 5 years are overweight or obese. 

Based on current trends, there could be 70 million children in this category by 2025. 

Childhood obesity has been linked to physical problems such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease both during childhood and later on in life. However, mental health problems are not left out as well as childhood obesity has been tied to poor self-esteem, as well as emotional and behavioral disorders.  

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Let's look at some of these issues below:

Low self-esteem

Overweight children commonly suffer from low self-esteem. This is because they are often bullied, ridiculed, and sometimes left out of activities. They might end up hating themselves, their body, and developing an obsession with having the perfect body. 

Mood disorders

Childhood obesity can increase a child's chances of developing anxiety or depression. Bullying and constant mockery can make them sad and very sensitive. They may feel like they don't fit in with their peers and may get anxious when in social situations. 

A negative body image will also contribute significantly to this. Obese children may become very self-conscious about changing in front of others or participating in sports like swimming.

According to research, obese children are many times more likely to develop depression as adults than children who are not for boys, the risk is even higher. 

Eating Disorders

Childhood obesity can put a child at risk of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating. Children who are obese can develop an unhealthy relationship with food. On one end of the spectrum, they may avoid food at any cost and obsessively count calories (as in anorexia) or overeat and force themselves to vomit (as in bulimia). 

They may turn to food as a comfort when faced with poor treatment from their peers or may experience binge-eating episodes while dieting to maintain weight.  

Social Isolation & Humiliation

Obese children might be isolated by their age mates during playtime and other activities. They might get picked last for games, and they are more likely to be called names like fatty, even by teachers.

Children find these situations very humiliating and may isolate themselves on purpose to avoid more humiliation. Social isolation and humiliation can trigger anxiety and depression. It may also fuel eating disorders as they try to achieve a socially acceptable body.


Childhood obesity can be heart breaking as children are forced to endure endless ridicule from peers and even adults. The mental health implications can be severe if left unchecked. 3 child

In a society that rewards specific body types, the best you can do as a caregiver is to guide your child on a healthy weight loss journey. Don't forget to encourage them as they go.