Can Feeling Insecure Predict Obesity?

Can the quality of our relationships play a role in obesity?   A new meta-analytic study suggests that it can (at least for adults).

Oesity has long been recognized as a major health issue around the world with the overall percentage of children and adults classified as overweight or obese soaring dramatically over the past thirty years.    According to one 2012 study, the estimated  percentage of overweight individuals in the United States is 68 percent and obese individuals (defined as a BMI greater than 35) at 38 percent.   The makes the United States the country with the highest average body mass index (BMI) of all high-income countries.  Not only has been obesity been linked to a wide range of serious medical conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and reduced mortality, but the economic costs associated with health care needs and lost work productivity are profound and will certainly increase in the years to come.

While researchers continue to explore the complex causes of obesity, including genetic factors, the psychological roots of obesity are just beginning to be understood.  Studies looking at obesity in children and adults have found that individuals prone to emotion- and stress-related eating are especially vulnerable to obesity and also have greater difficulty losing weight.  This ties in to additional research suggesting that attachment insecurity is strongly linked to many physical diseases, including obesity.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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