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World Obesity Day 2024: Know about the hidden connection between obesity and mental health

The connection between obesity and mental health is a significant but often overlooked aspect of overall well-being. The psychological impact of obesity can be profound and can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Written By : Health Desk Edited By : Kristina Das
New Delhi
Published on: March 04, 2024 12:33 IST
World Obesity Day 2024
Image Source : FILE IMAGE A hidden connection between obesity and mental health.

Obesity is not just a physical health concern; it also has a significant impact on mental well-being. In recent years, research has shed light on the strong connection between obesity and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. In this article, we will explore the hidden connection between obesity and mental health and discuss strategies to address both aspects for a holistic approach to well-being.

First and foremost, individuals who struggle with obesity often face social stigma and discrimination. They may be subjected to negative stereotypes and judgments, leading to lowered self-esteem and body image issues. These societal pressures can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Society must challenge these stigmas and create a more inclusive and accepting environment, one where individuals of all body sizes can feel valued and respected.

The psychological impact of obesity goes beyond external factors. There is evidence to suggest that there is a biological basis for the connection between obesity and mental health. According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, Head of Diabetology, at Zandra Healthcare and Co-founder of the Rang De Neela initiative, obesity can disrupt the body's hormonal balance, affecting the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which play a crucial role in regulating mood. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can lead to depressive symptoms and other mental health disorders. Understanding this biological aspect is essential in developing effective interventions and treatments for individuals struggling with both obesity and mental health problems.

Addressing mental health concerns is a vital part of managing obesity. For individuals dealing with obesity, it is essential to have a support system in place that includes mental health professionals. These professionals can provide therapy and counselling to help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with their weight. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown promising results in helping individuals with obesity manage their mental health. CBT helps individuals identify and reframe negative thought patterns and behaviours, leading to improved emotional well-being.

In addition to professional support, the importance of social support cannot be overstated. Family and friends can play a significant role in creating a positive and supportive environment for individuals struggling with obesity and mental health. Encouraging open and non-judgmental communication, providing emotional support, and engaging in activities together can help individuals feel understood and validated. Social support also promotes adherence to healthy lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity, both of which are vital for both mental and physical well-being.

Adopting a holistic approach to well-being is crucial when addressing the connection between obesity and mental health. This includes focusing on self-care practices that nurture both the mind and body. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or leisurely walks can have a positive impact on mental health by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. Prioritising adequate sleep is also crucial, as sleep deprivation can exacerbate mental health symptoms and contribute to weight gain. Taking the time to engage in activities that bring joy and fulfilment, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones, can help alleviate stress and improve overall well-being.

Thus, it is crucial to address both physical and mental health concerns simultaneously for a holistic approach to well-being. By challenging societal stigmas, seeking professional help, fostering social support, and embracing self-care practices, individuals dealing with obesity and mental health concerns can find the support they need to achieve overall wellness.

ALSO READ: World Obesity Day 2024: 5 lifestyle changes to prevent obesity in children

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