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Low self-esteem linked to adult obesity

11th September 2009

Children with emotional difficulties may be at a higher risk of obesity in later life, according to new research.

A study by researchers at the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, published in the BMC Medicine journal, associated low self-esteem with being overweight.

Children who felt they had less control over their lives and those who worried more were more likely to gain weight over a 20-year period.

Lead researcher Andrew Ternouth explained that the research does not show that childhood emotional problems are the cause, but rather that they 'play a role'.

He explained: 'Strategies to promote social and emotional aspects of learning, including the promotion of self-esteem, are central to a number of recent policy initiatives.

'Our findings suggest that approaches of this kind may carry positive benefits.'

Researchers from the Children's Hospital Boston and the Harvard Medical School suggested earlier this year that childhood obesity could be linked to infant weight gain.

The findings suggested that rapid weight gain during the first six months could put children at risk of obesity by the age of three.

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