Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Association Between Childhood Obesity and Low Self Esteem

March 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 215

a) Background

Obesity is excess accumulation of body fat. For children a body mass index greater than 95th percentile for age and gender is considered obese. Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to describe a person's overall sense of personal value or self-worth. It is derived from a Greek word meaning "reverence for self." The "self" part of self-esteem refers to the beliefs, attitudes we hold about ourselves, while "esteem" describes the personal worth and value we give ourselves. It is how we feel about the self, how much we value ourselves, the pride we feel in ourselves or our acceptance of ourselves for who and what we are at any given time in our lives. This is important, because how we feel about ourselves can affect how we act.

Self-esteem is an essential human need that is crucial not only for survival but also healthy development. Since it develops from an individual's beliefs and consciousness of oneself, self-esteem is closely linked with one's feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviours. The development of self-esteem is a life-long process, starting from very early in life. It can be positively or negatively influenced by different events and circumstances. Consequently, a person can have either a healthy (high) or a low self-esteem. A person with a healthy self-esteem has a happier outlook to life and is more self-confident than the one with low self-esteem.

What factors influence self-esteem?

A number of key factors are believed to have a significant influence on self-esteem. To begin with we all inherit different personality traits from our parents which determine how we interpret or react to events or circumstances. This in turn impacts on our self-esteem. One of the major factors affecting self-esteem is experiences in one's childhood. Children are significantly influenced from an early age by the care givers.. A child who receives praise and encouragement for their efforts develops a healthy self-esteem and is inspired to keep trying and take on more challenging tasks. If, on the other hand, these people are critical and judgmental this can lead to a child feeling inferior, worthless or rejected.

Other factors that can influence self-esteem are painful events or experiences like divorce, bereavement, serious illness or bullying. Body image, which is how someone feel about his or her own physical appearance, can also enhance or lower one's self-esteem.

b) What is the association between childhood obesity and low self-esteem?

Childhood obesity is known to be associated with a number of conditions, among them, low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can occur in children who are obese due to the following factors:

i) Bullying

Children who are obese can be bullied or become bullies themselves. Consequently they are isolated as it becomes difficult for them to make friends, they get excluded from social activities and feel unwanted.

ii) Poor body image

Body image can be closely linked to self-esteem, especially in early teen-age life. According to a study on childhood obesity and self-esteem by Richard Strauss published in Paediatrics, there was no significant difference in self-esteem scores between 9- and 10-year-olds who were obese or not obese. However by age 13 and 14 significantly lowered self-esteem was noted in some of the study children who were obese compared to their non-obese counterparts (Paediatrics 2000;105;e15). As children enter their teens they are more conscious of how they look and what others think and say about them. The manner in which being overweight or obese affects a child depends a lot on the child's parents, their perceptions and on the culture in which the child grows up. This is because some parents and cultures accept a wider range of weights than others. A child who is constantly teased about how fat they are soon develops the feeling that he or she is not good enough, is not appreciated or accepted. This teasing can take place at home as well as at school. Children may be subjected to negative comments and hurtful teasing about the way they look from siblings (especially boys), parents, classmates and peers. Such comments can affect one's body image and self-esteem. External factors, for example media images of skinny girls and bulked-up boys, can also adversely influence a child's body image and hence self-esteem. Girls have been found to be more dramatically affected by weight and perceived weight problems than boys.

Author: Mary Slessor Limbe MD The author is a consultant paediatrician, whose subspecialty is paediatric endocrinologist. She has a keen interest in childhood obesity. For more articles on this topic, please visit the website below.

Website address: e-mail address:

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Sef Esteem


Childhood Obesity


Low Self Esteem


Association Between


Body Image

Your body needs glucose in order to get energy for cell and tissue function. Without energy, the cells do not function properly and the immune system is compromised. When your blood glucose levels

By: Clifford H Woods l Health & Fitness > Diabetes l July 09, 2013 lViews: 2617

Heavy Metals - Free radicals (tissue damaging molecules that cause aging and bodily deterioration) are the result of the ever-present toxins within our environment. Heavy metals are contained in

By: Clifford H Woods l Health & Fitness > Supplements l July 09, 2013 lViews: 607

Braun shavers and trimmers are very standard brand and their new curser beard and head trimmer is big for trimming beards. This trimmer was specifically made to be able to trim down your beard and

By: Lovey Blackburn l Health & Fitness > Beauty l December 20, 2012 lViews: 460

On this website you will find latest makeup reviews and swatches from real people. You will know how makeup products look in real life, and you can also participate! Post your photos, tips and

By: l Health & Fitness > Beauty l December 09, 2012 lViews: 321

You can either seek referrals from friends and associates or search for consultants on the internet. The latter, in our opinion, would be a viable option for those pressed for time.You can either

By: Simon Liva l Health & Fitness > Diseases l December 07, 2012 lViews: 269

Healthy living is essential in today's world, to ensure one's well being. Learn how to relax and improve your mood now! Be it exercising, or indulging in one's passions and hobbies, be sure to set

By: Clarinda l Health & Fitness > Mind Body Spirit l December 02, 2012 lViews: 262

Childhood obesity has increased tremendously in the last 30 years. Find out what/who are some of the contributing factors.

By: Shannon Boisel Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 21, 2012 lViews: 204

All children need to gain weight as they grow older, but gaining extra pounds - more than what's needed to support their growth and development can lead to childhood obesity. Combating childhood

By: Dr. Panchali Moitral Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 20, 2012 lViews: 181

No one knows the pain an obese child goes through better than his mother. She watches as her child is picked on for being overweight. She worries what the weight will do to his health. This article

By: S. Mary Albrittonl Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 18, 2012 lViews: 184

Anywhere you go it is hard to not see someone who is obese. But now it is also common to see obese children. Blame for this can be placed in many different areas. Parents who are not good role models

By: Jay R Holtl Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 18, 2012 lViews: 189

Healthy kids eat healthy food, it's as simple as that. If you put mud into your car instead of gasoline you can't expect it to run efficiently. Start feeding your kids natural healthy foods to see

By: Jay R Holtl Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 17, 2012 lViews: 188

I believe that statement is true. Does this mean we turn our backs on obese children, may it never be so. Overfeeding children has become epidemic, parents are afraid to say, no. You can help your

By: Lynda J Knightl Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll April 02, 2012 lViews: 176

Sally had some nagging fears that at times caused unnecessary inconveniences and seemed quite irrational. Other than a morbid fear of enclosed places, Sally was scared stiff of heights and preferred

By: Mary Slessor Limbel Health & Fitness > Phobiasl March 09, 2012 lViews: 182

Obesity in children is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 95th percentile for age and gender. Childhood obesity is increasing globally at an alarming rate. It is caused primily by

By: Mary Slessor Limbel Health & Fitness > Childhood Obesity Controll February 10, 2012 lViews: 172

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus