Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Psychological correlates of childhood obesity.

International Journal of Obesity
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2010.238
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


To enhance the prevention and intervention efforts of childhood obesity, there is a strong need for the early detection of psychological factors contributing to its development and maintenance. Rather than a stable condition, childhood obesity represents a dynamic process, in which behavior, cognition and emotional regulation interact mutually with each other. Family structure and context, that is, parental and familial attitudes, activity, nutritional patterns as well as familial stress, have an important role with respect to the onset and maintenance of overweight and obesity. Behavioral and emotional problems are found in many, though not all, obese children, with a higher prevalence in clinical, treatment-seeking samples. The interrelatedness between obesity and psychological problems seems to be twofold, in that clinically meaningful psychological distress might foster weight gain and obesity may lead to psychosocial problems. The most frequently implicated psychosocial factors are externalizing (impulsivity and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and internalizing (depression and anxiety) behavioral problems and uncontrolled eating behavior. These findings strengthen the need to further explore the interrelatedness between psychological problems and childhood obesity.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.