Obesity is an important health problem that is very common globally today. Obesity cases are increasing day by day in our country. In fact, the age range in which obesity cases are seen in our country has decreased to such an extent that it includes children and adolescents. Studies show that psychological factors play a major role in the deterioration of eating patterns, weight gain and maintenance of obesity. This situation has revealed the necessity of considering obesity not only as a medical problem but also as a psychological problem.


Many studies in the literature have revealed that obesity is significantly associated with childhood traumas, problems encountered in close relationships and in the social environment. Problems such as peer bullying, loss of a loved one, traumatic events with parents, divorce, depression, neglect, abuse and anxiety can cause individuals to see eating behavior as a kind of "coping mechanism" and "a method of escaping from problems". Therefore, the eating behavior can be perceived as both a source of pleasure and a method of calming by becoming uncontrolled, and with the loss of the feeling of hunger/fullness over time, it can turn into "attacks" and cause obesity.


Body image, which is assumed as socially ideal, unhealthy eating habits and unconscious parenting at the point of nutrition are other reasons for the formation of obesity. Especially in children and adolescents, excess weight gained as a result of unhealthy eating habits can increase exposure to peer bullying. In addition, exaggerated concerns about appearance are quite common during adolescence. When the inability to reach the ideal body image in the society reaches a point that damages self-confidence, the intense uneasiness felt can lead individuals to eat more and result in obesity.


Various psychological problems can be seen not only in the formation of obesity, but also after obesity. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, intense feelings of guilt and low self-esteem are just a few of these problems. The new psychological problems added to the table with obesity make the process even more difficult for individuals. For this reason, it is vital for individuals who are at risk of obesity and who are currently struggling with obesity to seek psychological support.


Elif Başçelik Yavuz

Expert Clinical Psychologist