Paediatric Obesity Treatment: Impacts on Self-Esteem and Body Image

18 February 2020
Obesity Research

The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents have reached alarming rates around the world. Paediatric obesity - comes with a wide range of serious health complications which include psychosocial, metabolic and physical effects. Without intervention, obesity is likely to continue into adulthood along with its complications.

A recent study led by Dr Megan Gow, Clinical Lecturer and NHMRC Early Career Fellow at The University of Sydney, Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School and Ms Hiba Jebeile, PhD candidate and research dietitian at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, featured in Pediatric Obesity looked at the impacts of obesity on the psychological health (specifically self-esteem and body image) in children and adolescents.

Self-esteem and body image, which influence each other, are likely to influence other domains of psychological health such as risk for depression and eating disorders.

Our findings are encouraging as they show that paediatric obesity treatment has a positive influence on psychological as well as physical outcomes – Dr Megan Gow.

The review, which looked at over 70 articles, assessed the effect of treatment interventions for obesity on self-esteem and body image and also investigated the following:

  • Identified intervention characteristics which contributes to changes in self-esteem and body image
  • Assessed the relationship between change in self-esteem and change in body image
  • Assessed the effect of intervention weight loss on changes in self-esteem and body image

The psychological wellbeing of children and young people should be considered an important outcome of treatment interventions for paediatric obesity – Ms Hiba Jebeile.

This review is part of a series of systematic reviews led by Ms Jebeile one which dives into the impact of paediatric obesity treatment on depression and anxiety and another on eating disorder risk, both published in 2019.


Click below for the full study featured in Pediatric Obesity:

Pediatric obesity treatment, self‐esteem, and body image: A systematic review with meta‐analysis


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