Psychological and Emotional Effects of Obesity on Children

Summary: This article will cover the effects of obesity on children’s emotional and psychological well-being. 

Obesity in children is one of the most disturbing problems worldwide.  Having excessive weight more than your BMI could lead to many long-term problems including physical, emotional, and psychological issues.  Obesity not only causes health-related issues in children but also cause psychological and emotional issues. 

Below are a few psychological and emotional effects of obesity in children:

  • Social Humiliation
  • School Bullying & Low Self-Esteem
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Emotional Eating
  • Discrimination
  • Body Dissatisfaction
  • Eating Disorder Symptoms
  • Emotional Distress: Signs and Symptoms in children

Social Humiliation

Children who are obese, living with extra weight can be heartbreaking.  The social stigma linked with being obese can be detrimental to a child’s emotional and psychological health.  In such a society, where an ideal body revolves around thinness, obese children may become a victim of social humiliation. 

School Bullying & Low Self-Esteem

Commonly, obese children are more likely to become victims of school bullying.  Obese children have low self-esteem because of continuous criticism from peers. Low self-esteem promotes feelings of shame which can lead to a lack of self-confidence and cause poor grades in school.  It’s hard understand how difficult it is for these children to manage their daily life with these emotional issues. Their friends and peers may ridicule and humiliate them in front of other groups. Teachers may also neglect them while choosing students for physical games.  All these reasons can cause noticeable emotional and psychological issues.

Anxiety and Depression

This turmoil can make the child depressed.  He or she may feel they don’t fit anywhere including at school, the playground, and at home which can cause them to feel sad, tense, and anxious.  When this situation becomes ingrained into day-to-day life, they will become gloomy, depressed, and withdrawn. 

Emotional Eating

Some overweight children seek emotional comfort in food.  This emotional eating will lead to more weight gain and other emotional peaks such as anxiety of playing with peers and stress in classroom activities. 


A few obesity-related consequences continue into teenage years and beyond.  Obese adolescents and adults might suffer from discrimination based on their weight.  For both teens and adults, dating and having intimate relationships can become nearly non-existent for fear of rejection.  In professional life, research shows that obese teens have minimal chances of getting into to a prestigious universities. Further, they also have fewer chances of getting good jobs than more physically attractive candidates.  

Body Dissatisfaction
Obesity in children can cause body dissatisfaction as well.  These children may see themselves as overweight and ugly, and may even begin to verbally shame their own bodies out loud.
Eating Disorder Symptoms

In obese children, the symptoms of eating disorders are more prevalent than the other ones.  Research shows that obese children have higher chances of eating-related pathology such as excessive eating, binge or emotional eating, drive for thinness, bulimia, or anorexia nervosa. 

After learning a few significant consequences of obesity on your child’s psychological and emotional health, here are a few important symptoms to look for in such scenarios. 

Emotional Distress: Signs & Symptoms in Children

Parents must keep and eye out for these signs and symptoms of emotional distress.

  • The child will be sad, withdrawn, angry, or lonely most of the time.
  • You will notice a reduction in the child’s activities. 
  • The child will resist making friends or participating in social activities.
  • The child may talk negatively about him/herself and have low self-worth.
  • The child may think of hurting him/herself or others.
  • The child may show overeating or Binge-eating behavior.
  • Changes in sleep pattern such as too much sleeping or not sleeping.
  • The child may ask for school leaves or be unable to continue regular attendance.
  • Lack of interest in play activities. 


Some of the most disturbing problems that that can develop in obese and overweight children are psychological and emotional.  This disease hinders in communicating with other peers and family members and can lead to depression. They may find it difficult to make new friends, play outside, go to the park, participate in classroom activities, or wear trendy clothes.  They can be victims of school bullying, biased teacher behavior, discrimination, peer humiliation, and teasing. Studies have shown that obese children and teens are more likely to have low self-esteem and a lower quality of life. They may show a lack of self-confidence, feel lonely, experience deep sadness, and become easily nervous. 
As to the consequences of obesity, there are chances of involvement in unhealthy behaviors including emotional eating, social isolation, and alcohol consumption.  To overcome this emotional and psychological issue, parents must notice and take immediate measures to help their children. Parents must consider healthy tips to overcome weight issues in their children.

Sunbal Munir Bio