In the last three decades obesity has increased at an alarming rate undoubtedly… and the physical and medical consequences have been highlighted significantly in the recent movements to reduce obesity, but what we really seem to be missing out is the psychosocial consequence to this condition which can significantly impact an individual’s functioning.
The prevalence has significantly increased in the younger population that includes young children and older children and adolescents , a time during which body image becomes a crucial part of your psycho-social development.
Understand the issue:
We need to understand over weight adults, youth, adolescents and children are vulnerable as there is a psychosocial consequence of being over weight. They have issues associated with:
- lower self esteem
- high risk for depression
- eating disorders.
- emotional baggage of being teased , bullied and discriminated
To top it up given their higher rates of body dissatisfaction, obese children , adolescents, youth and adults may be at risk for using unhealthy weight control methods to quickly attain a more socially acceptable body shape. . In other words, overweight people are often blamed for their condition and as a consequence, some believe the solution to the obesity epidemic is one of personal responsibility.
Due to this they are forced to resort to extreme measures, but if they are not getting the desired outcome quickly or as desired it can cause severe depression, leading to suicidal tendencies.
Dieting and restricting behaviors (e.g., fasting, skipping meals) as well as extreme weight control behaviors (e.g., diet pills, self-induced vomiting, laxatives).
Stigma is not the way out:
But stigmatizing people in this way is counterproductive. There is no evidence that it motivates people to make healthier choices and in fact may have the opposite effect, increasing stress and unhealthy eating and deterring people from exercise. Further, by blaming the individual, the real culprit behind the obesity epidemic—an obesogenic environment—can be ignored. As Clinical psychologists, we know that blaming the victim does not work. Clinical Psychologists must lead by addressing multiple factors that create the obesogenic world we live in every day. A good team of Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physician , Nutritionist and a Physiotherapist would be an ideal team to treat Obesity with Psychiatric condition like depression.