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Association between Obesity and Depression: Saving Self-Esteem

Submitted by on June 5, 2014 – 1:47 PM

obesityWhat is obesity, actually? How can one tell that they are obese? How to get rid of extra fat? These are common questions that almost everyone has these days.


Obesity is one of the scariest phases of one’s life. But when does one realize that he or she has gained weight? Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems or when the body mass index exceeds 30kg/m.


No one knows that one has gained weight until or unless someone tells you that. It is the society that points out loud and tells you that you are fat. Noone actually cares how the other person might feel about it. A person is sure judged by his or her looks.


Media nowadays and the fashion industries have started emphasizing on losing weight. They have set a trend of size zero. Everyone has set their goal on reducing their size to size zero or actually losing all their body fat and look anorexic. One cannot even fit in most of the glamorous dresses and can only dream of wearing them once in their life time. Well this is a very depressive situation for most of the girls!


There has been a lot of research done which shows the association between obesity and depression. Depression itself can lead to over eating, on other hand obesity leads to depression because of lack of social acceptance. Obesity can lead to social stigmatization and disadvantages in employment.  A study examining Duke University employees found that people with a BMI over 40 kg/m2 filed twice as many workers compensation claims as those whose BMI was 18.5–24.9 kg/m2.


They also had more than 12 times as many lost work days. Some research shows that obese people are less likely to be hired for a job and are less likely to be promoted. Obese people are also paid less than their non-obese counterparts for an equivalent job; obese women on average make 6% less and obese men make 3% less. Specific industries, such as the airline, healthcare and food industries have special concerns.


A research was done on the relationship of obesity to depression. It was a family-based study. Greater odds for depression were found for the obese. Obesity was associated with the increased risk for depression across gender and racial groups.


Another research was done in 2008 on the associations of obesity with psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviors. The results showed that obesity was positively related to several lifetime psychiatric disorders (depression, mania, panic attacks, social phobia, agoraphobia without panic disorder), any lifetime mood or anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) range: 1.22-1.58.


No one can take a look at an individual and know whether or not they are fit. If an individual has an extra inch of fat here and there, then this does not mean that they are out of shape or obese. Just like carbohydrates and proteins, fat is considered a nutrient, which supplies more calories per each gram than any other two proteins put together. Many may not think so, but fat is essential for the body, because it provides the body with essential fatty acids.


The fat in your body help you to maintain healthy skin and hair, which is due to the fact that it stores essential vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Fat is known to insulate the nerve cells in the body so that the body will have proper nerve functions. Our organs are surrounded by fat, which cushions them, so that they are protected from getting damaged. Fat stores the extra calories in the body, plus it keeps us warm against the cold. It also protects us from being injured by falls.


Once carbohydrate calories are used by your body, then the body will use fats as the next source of energy, which can occur after about thirty minutes of light exercise. No matter how much we benefit from the fat in our body, there still seems to be a phobia about fat. This is due to the many misconceptions that we have about it. There are pros to having some fat on your body. Not everyone was made with the ability to look absolutely ripped. So be confident in yourself and keep working out.


Parents can improve their child’s self esteem by emphasizing their strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem. When a child or adolescent with obesity has emotional problems, a child or adolescent psychiatrist can work with the child’s family physician to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Such a plan would include reasonable weight loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification, and family involvement.



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