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Does Obesity Cause Depression? What Studies Suggest

A study has shown that one in four adults is estimated to be obese in the UK, this number keeps growing daily. Another study suggests that people with obesity have a 55% risk of developing depression, and a similar percentage of depressed people may become obese over time.

All over the world, many people are overweight, and it is not limited to adults. Childhood obesity has become a major problem in many countries across the globe. Indeed, it is a worrisome problem with both physical and mental health impact. 

How Obesity Affects Mental Health

Obesity can lead to depression and anxiety, but the pathway is both mental and physical (a metabolic dysfynction that may result from poor diets that cause neuroinflammation and mental health impairments).

Many overweight people feel self-conscious and less confident in themselves. While it affects their physical health, their mental health is also at risk. Obesity is the cause of depression for many kids, adolescents, and adults, and many suffer low self-esteem when they are overweight. It can also lead to anxiety when in social environments.

The struggle to lose weight is taking a toll on many people, and the stigma associated with being overweight is not making it easy for them.

How Obesity Affects Physical Health

Many people with high body mass index (BMI) and obesity suffer from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cardiovascular disease. This is worsened by the social influences they face and the stigma from peers and strangers alike. 

Obesity and depression have become a global health challenge according to research done on two sets of genes in the University of Exter Medical School. There is a need to understand how social factors are affecting people with high BMI. This will help to deal with the mental well-being of individuals who are overweight and also struggling to keep their physical health in check.

Dealing with Obesity and depression

People are different and will react differently to certain circumstances because their genes and metabolism vaary. Therefore, some people are more prone to becoming weightier and unhealthier if they do not eat right.

It is important to help people with obesity deal with their mental health so that they are encouraged to be healthier. But with some people being emotional eaters, it will not be easy for them to get healthy with the social stigma they face. That's because many more people turn to food when they feel depressed. This contributes to the number of depressed people who later become overweight.

It is therefore important to take care of one's physical health and regulate their weight to prevent stigmatization, which may consequently affect the victim's mental health.

Many obese kids do not have the chance to bond and relate freely with others. This is because of bullying and many other stigmas they face with their better-looking peers. Mental health is just as important as physical health, as a problem with one may lead to a problem in the other. So individuals must work to take care of both. Parents are also responsible for making sure they help their kids take care of themselves.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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