Being overweight or obese is a national problem because of all the medical complications of being overweight.

For the individual, it’s a more personal problem frequently associated with low self-esteem and depression, which feed into the viscous cycle of overeating and obesity. Children, as well as adults, use food for other reasons than to satisfy hunger. In fact, obese youngsters often eat in response to their emotions and their feelings.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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