Pediatric & Adult Obesity
Obesity is at an all time high in the United States. Recent research showed that overweight and obese children experience a range of psychological and medical difficulties that significantly impacts the quality of their lives. These include teasing at school, isolation from peers, impaired physical functioning, sleep apnea and a range of other obesity-linked problems. In fact, parents of overweight children and the children themselves, reported their quality of life to be comparable to that reported by childhood cancer patients (Schwimmer, 2003). These findings suggest that many overweight children are at risk for developing depression, anxiety and other problems of psychosocial adjustment. In addition, being an overweight child greatly increases the likelihood of becoming an obese adult.
Fortunately, researchers and clinicians from multiple backgrounds have developed strategies for both coping with the stress associated with obesity, and, making important behavioral changes to live a healthier lifestyle. These tools include training children to recognize triggers to overeating, learning ways to control stimuli associated with eating, implementing contingency plans to support behavioral changes, cognitive restructuring, and relapse prevention. The support of family members is often crucial to helping children achieve success in making lasting lifestyle changes.