The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 85, Issue 7, pp 554–559 | Cite as

Psychological Aspects of Obesity in Children and Adolescents

  • Rajesh Sagar
  • Tanu Gupta
Review Article


Childhood obesity is multi factorial health condition, so the simple evaluation of body fat will not be sufficed to manage the global epidemic of childhood obesity. Literature consistently provides evidence for physical health risks associated with childhood obesity; however in recent times, mental health of the obese children has also gained attention of the researchers as well as clinicians. Obese children experience number of psycho-social problems that significantly affect their quality of life and wellbeing. Co-morbid psychosocial and emotional problems of obesity generally act as causal or maintaining factors of obesity and thus significantly affect the treatment outcome. Therefore it becomes imperative for the clinicians/pediatricians to broaden their clinical assessment and include screening of important psycho-social factors within the clinical examination of childhood obesity. This article provides an evidence based comprehensive overview about the psychological factors and psychiatric factors (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, stress, body shape concerns, low self esteem) associated with childhood obesity that can further be utilized in the evaluation and management of this epidemic. The article also elaborates the role of current evidence based psychological approaches such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for management of obesity in children and adolescents. CBT techniques combined with lifestyle intervention and involving parents have been recommended by literature repetitively. However, there are a number of environmental, familial and personal barriers that hinder the whole process of weight loss in children. The article also discusses potential strategies to overcome those barriers.


Childhood obesity Psycho-social Cognitive behavior therapy Depression Low self-esteem 



RS and TG: Conception and design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the manuscript, final approval of the manuscript version. RS will act as guarantor for the paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest


Source of Funding



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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryAIIMSNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryAIIMSJodhpurIndia

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