Psychosocial Correlates in the Context of Body Mass Index and Overweight

Chapter

Abstract

The potentially serious physical and psychosocial consequences of overweight and obesity have made this condition one of the great contemporary public health issues. However, the earliest and most widespread consequences of adolescent obesity are of psychosocial nature. There is evidence that overweight and obesity in adolescence are associated with significantly lower levels of emotional well-being measures, body image dissatisfaction and social isolation. Compared with normal weight peers, overweight and obese adolescents express concerns associated with weight more frequently, have a poorer perception of their own health, rate their life satisfaction as lower and are more involved in health compromising behaviours, such as chronic dieting and potentially harmful alcohol consumption. Growing evidence suggests that adolescents with chronic conditions other than obesity, are likely to engage in risky behaviours to at least similar, if not higher rates as their healthy peers, and alcohol has been recognized as the substance most frequently used by young people with a variety of chronic conditions, with little variation by diagnosis. Obesity seems to be similar to other chronic conditions of adolescence, especially in what concerns alcohol use and abuse. Overweight and obese adolescents should, where possible, be reached with appropriate interventions addressing the broad spectrum of their psychological needs, enhancing their skill development for behavioural change, and providing support for dealing with potentially harmful behaviours.

Keywords

Obesity Depression Europe Shoe Cantril 

Abbreviations

BMI

Body Mass Index

EASO

European Association for the Study of Obesity

HBSC

Health Behaviour in School Aged Children

IOTF

International Obesity Task Force

UNWCB

Unhealthy weight control Behaviours

WHO

World Health Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsHospital de Santa MariaLisboaPortugal

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