Obese (Overweight) Girls Might be Low Self Confidence / Self Esteem / Self Worth

Obese (Overweight) Girls Might be Low Self Confidence / Self Esteem / Self Worth

The term "self-esteem" is one of the oldest concepts in psychology. It is one's mental perception of his qualities, not physical features. In addition, self-esteem is the third most frequently occurring theme in psychological literature.To understand self-esteem, it is a fancy word for thinking that someone or something is important or valuing that person or thing.


Self-esteem isn't bragging about how great you are. It's more like quietly knowing that you're worth a lot (priceless, in fact!). It's not about thinking you're perfect - because nobody is - but knowing that you're worthy of being loved and accepted.A kid needs to have self-esteem. Good self-esteem is important because it helps you to hold your head high and feel proud of yourself and what you can do. It gives you the courage to try new things and the power to believe in yourself. It lets you respect yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when you respect yourself, adults and other kids usually respect you, too.

Social learning theorists defined self-esteem in terms of a stable sense of personal worth or worthiness that can be measured by self-report testing. This approach became the most frequently used definition but now it is known that feeling good about oneself in healthy ways is difficult to differentiate from such things as narcissism.Having good self-esteem is also the ticket to making good choices about your mind and body. If you think you're important, you'll be less likely to follow the crowd if your friends are doing something dumb or dangerous. If you have good self-esteem, you know that you're smart enough to make your own decisions. You value your safety, your feelings, your health - your whole self! Good self-esteem helps you know that every part of you is worth caring for and protecting.

Obese children, particularly girls, may be more likely than their peers to suffer from low self-esteem, research shows.

In a study of more than 2,800 Australian school children, researchers found that obese girls were four times more likely than their thinner peers to report signs of low self-worth. What's more, they were five times less likely to show high self-esteem.

Obese boys were also affected, showing less satisfaction with their appearance and less confidence in their athletic abilities than normal-weight boys. But compared with girls, weight seemed to take less of a toll on boys' self-esteem.

Other studies have suggested that in general, heavy children and teenagers tend to have a poorer self-image than their thinner peers. But the new findings actually "quantify" their risk of low self-esteem and show which areas of life -- such as physical appearance and athletic ability -- are typically affected, the study's senior author told Reuters Health.

"The bottom line is that psychosocial problems associated with child obesity are common," said Dr. Andrew J. Hill of the University of Leeds School of Medicine in the UK.

And whereas the physical health effects of obesity are often in the future, children have to face the emotional and social effects "immediately," Hill noted.

Of course, not all obese children view themselves negatively. The large majority of obese children in the current study, in fact, did not have a generally poor self-image -- though many had a tough time with certain aspects of self-esteem, like satisfaction with their appearance.

An important question now, according to Hill, is what makes some overweight children "resilient" in a society where obesity is stigmatized.

"It forces us to think about why some are spared as well as why some are more deeply affected," he said.

The current study included 2,813 Australian children between the ages of 9 and 13 years. Each child completed a standard questionnaire that assessed overall self-worth, as well as specific aspects of children's self-image, like academic performance, athletic skill, physical appearance and acceptance among their peers.

Obese girls tended to score lower than thinner girls did in all of these aspects, except school performance. They also scored lower than obese boys, who differed from thinner boys mainly in athletic confidence and satisfaction with their appearance.

As for what parents of obese children can do to encourage greater self-esteem, Hill said that's the "$64,000 question."

For parents who are obese themselves, he suggested that they look at their own self-image and how they demonstrate it to their children -- in the remarks they make about themselves, for instance.

Parents can also try asking their children how they feel about their weight, according to Hill. If the extra pounds are an emotional problem, he said parents might want to seek professional help in managing their children's weight in a healthy way.

How teens feel about themselves can depend on many different factors, such as their environment, body image, experiences, and the standards they set for themselves.

While these factors may contribute to poor self-esteem, you can still play an important role in helping your daughter feel better about herself. When you hear her make a negative comment about herself, call attention to it and point out things that she should feel good about, such as close friends, a supportive family, good grades, or athletic successes.Think about your likes and dislikes. Choose activities you'll enjoy. If you have fun doing the exercises you've selected, you're more likely to keep doing them.

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