4 reasons for psychology and obesity are closely related

It won’t be wrong to state that obesity is one of the most underrated health condition. Alarmingly, it was just in 2013, when American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity as a disease. Consequently, development and progress started in this regard. By now, with enough awareness campaigns and advancements in the treating the condition, a considerable public awareness can be evidenced. However, awareness to the fact that obesity is a disease does not help much to eradicate it. Obesity is multifactorial and multifaceted disease. There are a variety of contributing factors that cause not only obesity but put the patient on the risk of related morbidities as well. The most critical is the relationship of psychology and obesity.

The relationship

This relationship progresses in a feedback loop manner.  Once caught in the cycle, it becomes impossible for the patient to break it and move towards a healthy lifestyle. Studies indicate that 20% to 60% of people suffering from obesity especially severe conditions are also caught up with mental illnesses. In short, Obesity and mental health has a positive correlation. Let’s discover this relationship a bit more.


The research on the topic strongly supports the positive relationship between psychology and obesityPatients suffering from severe obesity are five times more on the verge to suffer episodes of major depression. However, patients recovering with laparoscopic and bariatric surgery show significant improvement in their mental health.


Social anxiety is the most common related disorder in people suffering from obesity. However, social anxiety disorder unlike depression does not interfere with managing obesity and weight loss.

Sexual, physical and emotional abuse

Abuse statistics give the most alarming statistical evidence of the relationship between psychology and obesity. Approximately 16% to 32% of all the obesity patients who reach out for laparoscopic and bariatric surgery report a history of sexual abuse. Moreover, physical abuse an important factor among the patients as well. Alarmingly, more than 50% of the obesity patients report emotional negligence in childhood. It may be due to verbal abuse, divorce, loss of a loved one, family dysfunction etc.

Stigma and inequality

Obesity contributes to a feeling of unsatisfied self-image, lower self-esteem. However, all these issues are more related to the social discrimination and not directly due to obesity. The current social standards of beauty has made it too difficult for obese people to survive in our society. They may have lesser professional opportunities, and they are less acceptable in the society. In short, obese people have to face severe discrimination that adds to self-isolation, depression, and anxiety and the vicious cycle of psychology and obesity goes on.