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  Behavioral Facts

The general opinion regarding psychological disturbances in overweight people has taken a sharp turn in recent years. While it was generally accepted that overweight individuals were especially likely to exhibit emotional disturbances and that these disturbances were a cause of their obesity, this opinion has been shown to be quite untrue. While overweight individuals may have emotional problems, these problems are now seen as a consequence of being overweight in a society that displays extreme prejudices and discrimination toward them. This prejudice and its resulting discrimination is extremely widespread and has been demonstrated to be prevalent in children, normal weight individuals, healthcare workers and even overweight people themselves.

Research also suggests that overweight individuals are no more likely to suffer from disorders such as anxiety or depression than normal weight people. In the past there has been concern that dieting may lead to an increase in the incidence of depression. However, better methods of assessment indicate that this is not the case and, in fact, dieters often report a lessening in levels of depression.

Overweight individuals most frequently exhibit such emotional disorders as binge eating and body image issues. These issues may be made worse by failed diets and weight regain which has a very negative effect on an individual's satisfaction with their appearance, self-esteem, self-confidence, and happiness, as well as on their physical health.

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