According to Science Daily, previous research that found a substantial link between childhood obesity and psychological well-being may not have effectively accounted for inherited and environmental variables, as evidenced by these findings. Overweight children are more often than not diagnosed with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and ADHD.
However, the relationship between obesity and these mental health issues is poorly known. Obesity has both beneficial and harmful effects on one’s mental health. Another hypothesis holds that a child’s environment influences their weight and emotional and behavioral problems.
According to Amanda Hughes, a Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, UK, we need better to understand the association between childhood obesity and mental health. The ability to disentangle the roles played by a person’s common and unique genetics and environment is critical to the success of this quest.
Hughes and colleagues examined data from the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort Study and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway on the genetic and mental health of 41,000 children and their parents. The researchers examined the association between the children’s body mass index and sadness, anxiety, and hyperactivity symptoms.
After accounting for both sets of parents’ genetics and body mass index, scientists could better distinguish the impacts of the children’s genes from those of other variables impacting the family. Children’s anxiety levels were shown to be very marginally connected to their BMI.
Similarly, there is contradictory evidence on whether a child’s BMI promotes depression or ADD/ADHD symptoms. As a result, government efforts to minimize childhood obesity will fail. “This study implies that a child’s BMI isn’t all that essential at this age. It may be essential for teens. “This is Professor Neil Davies’ claim from University College London in the United Kingdom.
When experts looked at the relationship between parental obesity and their children’s ADHD and anxiety symptoms, they found nothing. Children whose moms had a higher BMI were more likely to exhibit indications of depression, but there was less of a link between the father’s weight and the children’s mood problems.
“It suggests that a parent’s weight has little impact on their child’s psychological well-being in the broad scheme of things. Given this, it is improbable that efforts to lower parents’ BMIs will positively impact children’s mental health.” Alexandra Havdahl is a professor at Norway’s National Institute of Public Health and the University of Oslo.
Laura Howe, Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at Bristol Medical School, and Havdahl are co-senior authors on the study. “Initiatives to reduce childhood obesity, according to our research, are unlikely to have a significant impact on children’s mental health.
More effective therapies might focus on improving children’s mental health and addressing the underlying social and environmental factors contributing to obesity.” As Hughes says, it all adds up.