Children with low self-esteem are more likely to be overweight or obese in later life, according to new research.
Study leader Andrew Ternouth from King's College London, said: 'While we cannot say that childhood emotional problems cause obesity in later life, we can certainly say they play a role, along with factors such as parental BMI, diet and exercise.'
The children had their weight and height measured by a nurse and their emotional status noted down. They self-reported these details when they were 30. The researchers said those who felt less in control of their lives and those who worried often were more likely to gain weight over the next 20 years. They also found that girls were slightly more affected by these factors than boys.
They suggested that early intervention for children suffering low self-esteem, anxiety or other emotional challenges could help improve their chances of long-term physical health.