Obesity and Depression in Our Youth

If a weight problem seems to be lending to your child’s feelings of loneliness, isolation or poor self-esteem, there is help available to break the chain.

Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimate that 17% of our youths between the ages of 2-19 years are overweight (reflecting a Body Mass Index of 30 or more), compared with just 5% of a few decades ago.  While this increase of obesity has had a direct impact on the physical health of the youth of our country; experts are also recognizing the impact it is having on their emotional health. 

Obesity and depression have previously been considered “adult” health issues.  However, they are now being recognized as growing concerns among our young people.  In a 2000 report, the Surgeon General highlighted both pediatric obesity and childhood depression as major health issues.  His 2003 testimony on “The Obesity Crisis in America,” also included the statement that the annual cost of obesity in the US in 2000 was $117 billion and that obesity epidemics have been followed by pediatric epidemics of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Although obesity and depression are diagnosed differently in children compared to adults; depression criteria may include anhedonia, fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, thoughts of death, as well as changes in sleep, appetite or physical activities.  They may exhibit insomnia or hypersomnia; anorexia or increased appetite; withdrawal or agitation. When you look closely at the behavior of your child, you can probably spot the signs of depression and eating-related issues.  Your child, who used to run to the playground after school, now wants to sit in front of the TV with his/her hand in a bowl of chips.  Your former soccer player now gorges on soda and cheese curls before retreating to his room and playing video games until dinner.  Friends may not call as they used to and your child seems to present worried, downcast eyes.  Their answer to, “What is wrong?” is an “I’m fine” that does not quiet your fears. Abnormal home and social behaviors may be an indication that it is time to take action.  Overeating can be a symptom of depression; while being overweight can contribute to depression. 

There tends to be an alarming ineffectiveness to the psychosocial and medication interventions currently being used to target childhood depression.  A recent report stated that only 37% of adolescents treated with intensive combined medication and psychotherapy treatments achieved remission at 12 weeks.  These same lifestyle and medication interventions for childhood obesity failed to curb the epidemic of overweight youth; leading to an increased use of invasive bariatric surgery for morbidly obese adolescents. 

If a weight problem seems to be lending to your child’s feelings of loneliness, isolation or poor self-esteem, there is help available to break the chain.  Excessive medications, counseling or the extreme measures of bariatric surgery are not necessary.  Our clinic offers the assistance that can provide long-lasting restorative relief from the physical and psychological symptoms associated with obesity in children or adults.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

Media Contact
Company Name: Phoenix Weight Loss
Contact Person: Debra
Email: doctor@phxweightloss.com
Phone: 602-274-3438
Address:202 E. Earll St, #160
City: Phoenix
State: AZ
Country: United States
Website: phxweightloss.com