Thursday, April 22, 2010

Psychosocial Factors Of Childhood Obesity

by Jack Clarke

Interest in the psychosocial context has increased in view of the ever increasing incidence of overweight and obesity in children and adults alike.

Reviewing the information about obesity and the social structure, invariably we find a close relationship between it and socioeconomic status. In girls from poor or low economic status it is common to find higher rates of obesity than children who, according to numerous studies, are more among the upper class.

In our country one in four children are suffering with weight problems, according to one report by the National Health Survey, which means a serious public health problem in the not too distant future will become a topic of national security, since the expenditure that will result having an obese population, is beyond our possibilities both in the familiar and in implementing health policies that target diseases that are generated concurrently by excess weight.


Studies conducted among children, reported that obese children are perceived by other children as even less acceptable than children with disabilities. In urban populations such acceptance is still smaller and worse in the case of girls.

You will often see obese children associate their problem with adjectives such as stupid and lazy. Despite this, most are well accepted as friends in their social groups. In the case of the attribute of beauty and feeling unattractive and rejected, it is reported in the studies that they would like to be thin and attractive, a situation that increases as they get older.

Girls in particular feel more rejected, which results in a self-concept and low self-esteem.

Self-esteem, which has to do with the value which they themselves have, is inherently lower in girls than in boys who are not suffering from obesity, in that sense is very important for parents to be vigilant and know how to handle this situation in order to prevent eating disorders, which we know are predominant in the female population.


Since obesity is a disease that is seen with the naked eye, necessarily impacting on relationships both with family and with people in the vicinity of the patient, so we consider important to mention these findings.

It was noted that there are more dysfunctional families when one of its members are obese, because there are minor faults and major partnerships to solve the problem, which results in an aggressive environment and unsympathetic one. Interestingly, parents have a differential behavior between obese daughters and sons in similar circumstances. Apparently the amount of guilt that is experienced is higher for girls than for boys.

This in itself leads to a higher burden of anxiety among girls, which leads to the use of mechanisms, not always healthy or appropriate, such as isolation, refusal to attend school, depression, aggressiveness, etc. What complicates the picture and becomes a vicious circle between the girl and food.

About the Author
Jack Clarke has been an author and content publisher for the past 12 years. He currently runs several review sites including Rival Ice Cream Maker among many others.



Psychosocial Factors Of Childhood Obesity


Friday, April 9, 2010

Obese children affected by negative attitudes

Children suffering from obesity are often victims of societal judgment and assumptions, according to experts presenting today at the American College of Sports Medicine's 14th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.

Although negative attitudes toward obese children are often unintentional, they can hinder young people's emotional and physical growth.

"These children can experience a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy," said Heather Chambliss, Ph.D., FACSM, an expert presenting on the topic. "If the child feels unwanted or uncoordinated in sports, he or she can develop a dislike for physical activity. And if eating habits are shamed, an unhealthy relationship with food can easily arise."

To avoid harmful treatment of overweight or obese children, Chambliss and co-presenter Scott Martin, Ph.D., recommend the following strategies:

- Avoid assumptions. "We tend to form immediate opinions about health behaviors when it comes to obesity," Chambliss said. Don't automatically categorize children into the too-little-exercise, too-much-junk-food class. Obesity is a complex condition with causes relating to genetics and physiology as well as behavior.

- Don't make character judgments. Chambliss says obese children are often perceived as lazy, sloppy or even lacking social skills. In reality, they have the same emotional and social needs of all children.

- Put yourself in their shoes. Children shouldn't be ostracized for being different or for potential health issues. Negative bias and comments can be very hurtful.

- Don't publicize the problem. Martin recalls one particular instance in which a physical education coach made jokes about students' heights and weights in front of their classmates. Ridicule can cause negative views about exercise and sports and lead to lower levels of physical activity in the long run.

Martin also encourages parents and educators to think about their behaviors and past responses toward obese children to determine any bias that might be present.

"Examining and reflecting is an important step," he said. "Once a person determines that he or she treats people differently based on weight, adjustments can be made."

American College of Sports Medicine



Obese children affected by negative attitudes