Psychological consequences of obesity: weight bias and body image in overweight and obese youth

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2012 Jun;24(3):247-53. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2012.678817.


Over the past several decades, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children has increased considerably. While it has been widely documented that childhood obesity is related to a variety of negative health consequences, and numerous campaigns have focused on increasing physical activity and healthy food choices in children, less research has focused on the negative psychological consequences of childhood obesity, namely body image disturbance. This article examines research on body image disturbance in overweight/obese children, comorbidity of psychological disorders and childhood overweight/obesity, and factors that contribute to body image disturbance in overweight and obese youths. Additionally, the authors present research pertaining to treatment and prevention of body image disturbance in overweight/obese youths and discuss potential future directions for research, prevention and advocacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / psychology*