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How weight status changes with time may affect self-esteem was seldom studied. We identified the distinct trajectories of overweight/obesity over age and assessed their associations with different domains of self-esteem in Hong Kong Chinese children. Territory-wide longitudinal data of 48,558 children (girls: 50.0%; 6.3 ± 0.51 years) studying Primary 1 in the academic cohorts of 1995/96 and 1996/97 followed till Primary 6 were obtained from the Student Health Service of Hong Kong. Weight was annually measured and categorized as underweight/normal and overweight/obese and self-esteem was measured in Primary 6. Distinct trajectories of weight status were first identified using growth mixture modeling and their associations with low self-esteem were assessed by logistic regression. Four distinct overweight/obesity trajectories were identified: never (76.8%), late-onset (8.1%), early-onset (4.2%) and chronic (10.9%) overweight/obesity. Compared with children who were never overweight/obese, more of those in the late-onset or chronic overweight/obesity group showed low self-esteem and specific domains including general, social and academic/school-related (adjusted odds ratios: 1.20 - 1.43, all P < 0.001) except parent/home-related self-esteem (P = 0.36), whereas children being in the early-onset overweight/obesity group showed no significant difference (P ≥ 0.53) except a lower risk of low social self-esteem (adjusted odds ratio = 0.82, P = 0.03). Late-onset or chronic overweight/obesity predicted low general, social and academic/school-related self-esteem. Children who successfully reduced weight may have equal levels of self-esteem or even better social self-esteem than those being always underweight/normal weight. Overweight/obese children had a vulnerability to self-esteem in non-domestic environments. © 2021. The Author(s).


Wei Jie Gong, Daniel Yee Tak Fong, Man Ping Wang, Tai Hing Lam, Thomas Wai Hung Chung, Sai Yin Ho. Late-onset or chronic overweight/obesity predicts low self-esteem in early adolescence: a longitudinal cohort study. BMC public health. 2022 Jan 06;22(1):31

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PMID: 34991549

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