The effects of weight management programs on self-esteem in pediatric overweight populations

Kelly Walker Lowry, Bethany J. Sallinen, David M. Janicke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Objective: Review published findings on self-esteem and pediatric overweight, and changes in self-esteem subsequent to weight management programs. Methods: We used PsycInfo and MedLine searches to identify peer-reviewed journal articles examining self-esteem changes following participation in weight management programs Results: Data regarding the relationship between self-esteem and obesity is mixed. Factors that place overweight children "at-risk" for low self-esteem include early adolescence, female gender, identification with majority cultural standards of body shape, exposure to teasing and peer victimization, a history of greater parental control over feeding, and internal attributions about weight status. Data from intervention studies suggest positive effects on self-esteem across settings. Components related to self-esteem improvements include weight change, parent involvement, and group intervention format. Conclusions: Well-designed, longitudinal studies using multidimensional measures of self-esteem, and following CONSORT guidelines are needed to confirm and expand these findings. Emphasis should be placed on examining mediators and moderators of self-esteem change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1195
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2007


  • Children
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Self-esteem
  • Treatment
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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