Obesity fuels anxiety
and emotional problems, such as feelings of low mood and anxiety, tend to
develop hand-in-hand from as young as age 7 years, according to new research
presented at European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK.
The analysis of a large nationally representative sample of over 17,000 children in the UK finds that regardless of their socio-economic status, girls and boys with obesity at age 7 were at greater risk of emotional problems at age 11, which in turn, predicted high body mass index (BMI) at 14 years of age. Information on children's height and weight (BMI) were collected at ages 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14 years, and parents filled in a questionnaire on their children's emotional problems such as feelings of low mood and anxiety. It was found that the rates of obesity and emotional problems increased gradually throughout childhood and adolescence. The analysis found that obesity and emotional problems tended to occur together in mid-childhood and adolescence between the 7 and 14 years of age, but not in early childhood (3 to 5 years of age).