Body Image in Pediatric Obesity

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



body image; pediatric obesity; psychosocial consequences; overweight; teasing; unhealthy weight control; risk factor models; eating & body image disturbance; assessment; prevention; treatment

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



As obesity has rapidly increased in the past 3 decades, greater attention has been given to its prevalence and potential negative consequences, especially among youth. The adverse effects of obesity on physical health are well documented and often emphasized in recent movements to reduce the high levels of obesity. It has become evident that there are also significant psychosocial consequences that are equally important to highlight, and these factors (e.g., teasing, stigmatization) may have an immediate impact on the individual's functioning. Specifically, one outcome of being overweight or obese, which appears to be related strongly to psychosocial issues, is dissatisfaction with physical appearance. The phrase body image has been used to characterize the subjective evaluation of one's appearance (J. K. Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe,& Tantleff-Dunn, 1999). In this chapter, we explore the issue of body image in pediatric obesity. We discuss weight-based teasing; unhealthy weight control methods; risk factor models of body image and eating disturbance; and assessment, prevention, and treatment of body image disturbance in youth.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Body Image in Pediatric Obesity, in L. Heinberg & J. K. Thompson (Eds.), Obesity in Youth: Causes, Consequences, and Cures, American Psychological Association, p. 99-114