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by F. Wang, T.C. Wild, W. Kipp, S. Kuhle and P.J. Veugelers
The consequences of overweight in childhood for physical health have received considerable attention, but relatively little research has examined the mental health consequences. This article examines longitudinal relationships between body weight and self-esteem in a nationally representative probability sample of Canadian children.
The data are from cycles 1, 2 and 3 of the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Logistic regression analysis using weighted data examined whether body weight at baseline predicted self-esteem two and four years later.
When baseline self-esteem and other potential confounders were taken into account, children who were obese at baseline had almost twice the odds of reporting low self-esteem four years later, compared with children of normal body weight. Ancillary analyses indicated that baseline self-esteem was not associated with body weight status two or four years later.
The current childhood obesity epidemic may trigger an increase in the population prevalence of low self-esteem in the future. According to other research, low self-esteem predicts poor mental health. The curent childhood obesity epidemic may increase the prevalence of not only chronic diseases, but also poor mental health.
body mass index, child development, exercise, health surveys, learning, mental health, prospective studies
Childhood overweight has become pandemic, and prevalence rates continue to rise. While the consequences of overweight in childhood for physical health are well described, relatively little research has examined the mental health consequences. [Full text]
F. Wang, T.C. Wild, W. Kipp, S. Kuhle and P.J. Veugelers (1-780-492-9095, firstname.lastname@example.org) are with School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 650 University Terrace, 8303 112 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2T4
This research was funded through a Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Health Scholar Award to Dr. Paul J. Veugelers and through an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research traineeship award to Dr. Fangfang Wang.